Page last updated at 06:45 GMT, Monday, 4 May 2009 07:45 UK

Six killed in Austrian avalanche

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An avalanche has killed six people near the ski resort of Soelden in the Austrian Alps, emergency rescue officials say.

The avalanche was spotted on Saturday but rescuers were unable to reach the scene because of poor weather.

They tried again by helicopter on Sunday morning, recovering six bodies, Austrian news agency APA reported.

Five of the victims were from the Czech Republic - one from Slovakia. They were attempting to scale a nearby mountain.

A seventh member of the group decided not to join the party and so escaped the fate of his companions. He later identified their bodies.

The climbers had been ascending the 3,500m (11,500ft) Schalfkogel peak, made up of snow-covered glaciers and situated in a remote region near the Italian border.

The avalanche occurred about 500m below the summit at around 1615 local time time (1415 GMT).

Correspondents say avalanches have been frequent in the Alps this year after heavy winter snowfalls.

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