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Avalanche kills seven mountaineers

AN AVALANCHE early December 31 in Spálený žľab, in the western part of the Slovak Tatras mountain range, killed seven Czech tourists, the SITA news agency reported.

A group of eight Czech mountaineers set up camp off-piste on the evening of December 30 half way up a mountain. This was despite an avalanche warning of level four on a five-point scale.

The avalanche surprised the group in their sleep and swept the camp down the valley. One of the tourists managed to struggle free from the snow and call for help.

Dozens of rescue service personnel and two helicopters took part in the rescue operation but the seven were found dead.

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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