THE WEEKEND of March 3/4 turned out to be a tragic one for skiers, tourists and mountain rescue workers in Slovakia: it ended with five people dead and more than a dozen injured.
The series of accidents began on the morning of Saturday, March 3, when two skiers suffered a collision at Martinské Hole ski resort. One of them, aged 41, suffered broken ribs and complications, Helicopter Rescue Medical Service Air Transport Europe (VSSZ ATE) spokesperson Silvia Galajda said, as reported by the TASR newswire.
The first fatal accident occurred in the Low Tatras when a female Czech skier, aged 26, was knocked off the Poma ski-lift at the Srdiečko-Chopok Juh (South) ski resort by a snowboarder in mid-flight. The skier landed in a grove of trees and although medical rescuers were called immediately and tried to resuscitate her, members of the VSSZ certified her dead at the scene. A police investigator from nearby Brezno launched a criminal investigation as the snowboarder fled after the crash without providing first aid.
On Saturday afternoon, a Slovak ski-mountaineer aged about 55 was reported seriously injured while traversing the ridge between the Ďumbier and Chopok peaks in the Low Tatras. It later turned out that he had slipped at Krupové Sedlo (Krupové Saddle) and fallen about 300 metres, suffering fatal injuries. His body was transported by the VSSZ to police for examination. Also on Saturday afternoon, a body was found near Halašova Jama in the Low Tatras. Rescuers later confirmed that a 43-year-old Slovak man had died. At approximately the same time, HZS rescuers found the body of another Slovak man, aged 32, in Lavinište, close to Chopok. He appeared to have suffered a fall.
In the High Tatras, VSSZ ATE rescued a hiker on the Tatranská Magistrála, the longest tourist footpath in the High Tatras, between Skalnaté Pleso and Hrebienok, after he fell in the forest, Galajda informed the SITA newswire. In spite of unfavourable conditions at the scene, he was transported to Poprad Hospital. In the Malá Fatra mountains, rescuers helped a Slovak tourist who became trapped in impassable terrain on Snílovské Sedlo. Using ropes, rescuers managed to extract him and lower him 40 metres to the valley floor, from where he was taken to Vrátna.
On Sunday morning, a 26-year-old Czech tourist died in a fall near Ďumbier peak. The accident was blamed on inappropriate footwear, and the victim’s lack of climbing equipment.
19. Mar 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská