Snow and Avalanche Center 2009 Avalanche News

Czech to pay for causing avalanche in Austria

05.03.2009, 07:57

Prague - A Czech skier is to be fined the equivalent of 280,000 crowns for having set into motion an avalanche in Austria, according to the daily Lidove noviny (LN).

On Saturday, he was skiing near the resort Kitzsteinhorn in the area with avalanche danger, thus contributing to the avalanche being set into motion, LN writes. No accident happened, but rescuers will fine the Czech skiing instructor for the costs incurred when they were checking whether anyone stayed under the avalanche.

On the basis of a special decree, the officials can exact the costs of the emergency intervention from the people who were not disciplined. "For this, we need no lengthy court trial," Kurt Reiter, emergency official in Zell am See, told the paper Der Standard.

The Czech skiing instructor, who lives in Kaprun during the winter, was moving in the area denoted by signs banning access to the area over avalanche danger.

The avalanche buried to the chest a German tourist, but he was not injured.

Using sniffer dogs and special equipment as well as a helicopter, the mountain service staff had to check whether anyone stayed under the avalanche, LN writes.

The Czech skier was not alone in the terrain, but unlike the rest, he did not escape from the scene and was helping the rescuers, LN writes.

"Naturally, these are mitigating circumstances," Reiter said, adding that there was a search for other culprits.

($1 = 22.076 crowns)

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