Avalanche in Austrian Alps claims lives of three Dutch skiers

An avalanche near the Austrian ski resort of Soelden on Thursday killed three people from the Netherlands who were participating in a climb, authorities said. Another person was rescued and taken to a hospital. Police said a group of 17 people from the Netherlands, accompanied by four Austrian mountain guides, was climbing toward a mountain refuge, the Martin-Busch-Huette, at about 8,200 feet above sea level when an avalanche, which was about 262 feet wide, hit just before 11 a.m. The mountain rescue service said that three members of the Dutch group were killed, the Austria Press Agency reported. A fourth was rescued from under the snow and flown to a hospital in the nearby town of Zams. The Netherlands said the country’s embassy in Vienna “is currently investigating exactly what happened and is ready to provide consular assistance if needed.” The avalanche warning level in Tyrol province, where Soelden is located, was “moderate,” the second level on a five-tier scale, but experts warned of the possibility of avalanches caused by loose snow.