Avalanche in Austria Buries 17, Kills Five

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An avalanche warning sign is pictured in Wattental valley in Austria's skiing region of Tyrol February 6. Five people were killed and several were injured in an avalanche that buried 17 people from the Czech Republic in the valley. Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters

VIENNA (Reuters) - Five people were killed in an avalanche that buried 17 people from the Czech Republic in Austria's skiing region of Tyrol on Saturday, police said.

The avalanche, which regional TV station ORF Tirol said was 2 km (1.25 miles) wide and 5 m (16 feet) high, came down shortly after noon at the Wattener Lizum region, about 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Innsbruck in western Austria.

Search and rescue operations were still under way on Saturday afternoon, and it was unclear how many people were still missing.

Police had said earlier that some people were injured, others unharmed.

The entire skiing region had been on a level three avalanche alert, out of a maximum five, and several avalanches were also reported elsewhere.

Avalanche in Austria Buries 17, Kills Five | World