A skier had a miracle escape after being buried under two metres of snow for nearly two hours during an avalanche in Austria, it was revealed last night.
Lucky Juergen Hauser, 37, suffered from hypothermia and bruising to his lungs, but was pulled alive from his icy tomb by frantic rescue workers.
The German tourist had been skiing off piste when it is believed he triggered an avalanche in Lech – one of Austria’s upmarket ski resorts. He was wearing an avalanche bleeper but he failed to turn it on, making his rescue even more difficult.
A police source said: “I think it must be a miracle, he is is one of the luckiest men alive. He only survived because he was trapped in an air pocket and I guess luck was on his side.”
Skiing off-piste and alone, the man was swept up in an avalanche around 11.20 am yesterday morning and was dragged 230 metres down the slope in the resort in the Vorarlberg region in the western tip of Austria.
Eye witnesses alerted the mountain rescue team but because of the unstable condition of the snow, they could not act immediately.
Ludwig Muxel, the mayor of Lech, said: “The avalanche was about 200-metres-long and between 10 and 20-metres-wide. The skier was found buried under two metres of snow.”
A huge amount of snow had to be moved to allow the rescue teams and sniffer dogs onto the scene.
After an hour and forty-five minutes the man was retrieved from the snow despite being buried two-metres-down.
Once he had been treated on scene by a doctor, he was taken to a nearby hospital for further treatment.
According to the police report he was suffering with severe hypothermia and bruising to the lungs.
Around fifty people were involved in the rescue mission including members of the piste rescue, mountain rescue and volunteers from the ski schools.