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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 15:46 GMT
Skiers hit by Italian avalanche
Dozens of people have been rescued after an avalanche struck during a skiing competition in northern Italy.

The avalanche hit the Artesina Rocca Giardina piste in Cuneo.

Hundreds of rescuers scoured the mountainside amid fears that others might have been buried, but officials said no-one was believed to be missing.

Correspondents say this winter looks set to be one of the worst on record for the number of people killed in avalanches across Europe.

Already 39 people have died in the French Alps, while in the whole of last season the total was just 25.

Last week 20 people died in France and Switzerland alone.

The BBC's James Cove in the Alps says the avalanche risk has grown because of sharp temperature fluctuations - which have made the snow very unstable - and greater numbers of inexperienced skiers venturing into powder snow.

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Country profile: Italy
22 Feb 06 |  Country profiles



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