'Christmas miracle' as skiers found alive after Austrian avalanche

All 10 who were missing accounted for after helicopter search in Alps

Rescuers searched into the night at the ski resort in Austria. AFP
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Ten people have been found alive after they were caught in a Christmas Day avalanche in Austria.

Rescue helicopters searched into the night after the skiers vanished from view on an Alpine mountainside.

In the early hours of Monday, authorities declared that all 10 missing people were accounted for.

“It’s truly a wonderful Christmas miracle that everyone appears to have escaped with their lives,” said government spokesman Daniel Kosak.

Police said four of the 10 people were injured, one seriously.

They were caught in the snow after up to 600 metres of the ski slope was buried by the avalanche.

A bystander happened to be filming at the time, and the footage revealed how many people were missing.

Rescuers on the mountainside after a ski slope was buried by the avalanche. AFP

More than 100 rescuers and seven helicopters were sent out as hours passed with no word from some of the skiers.

But all were eventually either pulled from the snow or made their own way out before reporting themselves alive.

The person seriously injured was taken by air to a hospital in Innsbruck, about 100km from the avalanche site near Zuers.

“On the basis of current information, we can assume that nobody else is missing,” police said shortly before 1am.

Alpine police will investigate the cause of the landslide in the coming days. Regional authorities had issued an avalanche warning on Christmas Eve because of fresh snowfall and high winds.

Updated: December 26, 2022, 10:33 AM