12th Avalanche Victim Found

avalanche dog used in search
The body of a young snowboarder buried in a massive avalanche in Austria earlier this week was recovered Friday, after rescue teams set off explosives to move the snow mass, local media reported.

The avalanche, which killed 12 people in a huge snow slide south of Salzburg, buried the snowboarder under more than 6 feet of snow, the Austria Press Agency reported.

The body was identified as that of Markus Arnold, 22, a resident of Kaprun, a village at the foot of the mountain where the avalanche occurred Tuesday.

Rescue teams used radio devices and dogs to locate the body after the snow mass had been shifted.

Ten people were found dead after the avalanche swept down the Kitzsteinhorn Mountain near Salzburg and another died at a hospital. Two others were able to free themselves while rescuers dug out a third survivor.

Most of the victims were training to be ski instructors. They included six Austrians, one Slovak, two Finns, one Belgian and one Dane.

Persistent fog, rain and snow grounded helicopters and prevented rescue crews from reaching the site earlier.

Authorities are continuing the effort to determine how the avalanche occurred. One trainee told Austrian state television an instructor caused the slide when his skis set loose a wall of snow.

However, the Austria Press Agency said two snowboarders had apparently started the avalanche and are believed to be among the victims. It was not immediately clear whether Arnold was believed to have contributed to the disaster.

Anyone still buried under the thick wall of snow would have virtually no chance to survive. While there are no reports of any others missing, Austrian authorities have hesitated to rule out that possibility.

Tuesday's avalanche was the fourth major deadly one in Austria in a little more than a year. Two snowslides on Feb. 23, 1999 killed 38 people in the region of Galtuer, in Tyrol. In December, two more avalanches in Tyrolean skiing areas killed 11 people.