Speed kills on snowy slopes of Alps

( dpa ) - The accident toll has soared this season in Europe's winter playground, the Alps, with a rising number of sled crashes adding to the steady stream of deaths from avalanches, rescue services say.

"Each of our helicopters is flying four to five missions a day to rescue seriously injured ski and snowboard users," said Herbert Forster, the mountain rescue service doctor at Immenstadt, Germany.

The climb in accidents while sledding was significant, but he had no immediate figures.

Overall, the toll on some ski fields was 20 per cent higher than in previous years, he told the Munich office of Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa during a survey of accident teams in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Austria said this season's earlier than usual arrival of show meant a longer winter sports period and more Alpine mishaps.

The Austrian Safety Council counted 59,100 ski and snowboard accidents a year ago and expects 60,000 this season. A Vienna newspaper, Der Standard, says more people suffer accidents on the snow each year than on Austria's roads.

Of the 20 fatalities counted by the Environment Ministry in the Austrian Alps so far this year, 13 were in avalanches. Strong winds after fresh snowfall caused the snowslides, but a large dose of human carelessness is blamed when people are caught under the slips.

Switzerland's Rega helicopter rescue service said there had been five fatalities since November in connection with winter sports in the Swiss Alps, "comparatively a lot, since we usually get that number in the whole season ending in April."

Doctors, insurance companies and mountain rescue teams say the toll could be reduced if skiers and sledders were obliged to wear crash helmets similar to those in other high-speed sports.

"I'm certain that would avoid some of the horrific outcomes," said Rolf-Dieter Winkler, a senior mountain rescue official in Bavaria's Fichtelgebirge range north of the Alps.

Forster agreed, saying skiers who fall on their heads risk shattered skulls and brain damage.

A current interest in sleds has led to a big rise in sled crashes, with several fatalities so far in Austria.

"The new sleds are built for speed and adults are using them on steep, fast sled runs," said Claus Huyer, a doctor in Marktoberdorf.

"Spinal and knee injuries are the typical outcome," he said.

The risk rises when riders take one drink too many during late afternoon breaks in sledder bars at the top of the slopes before a descent in the failing light.

Gerald Lehner, spokesman for the Austrian mountain rescue service, said, "They can't steer the things and crash into fences or trees."

Flying-saucer-style plastic toboggans are the worst, as they have no steering at all. Traditional sleds with runners can be steered by shifting weight or with the heels.

All the experts agree that higher speeds on well-groomed pistes, which are often very hard because of the high traffic, are the key factor behind the rising number of winter-sports casualties.

That gain cancels out the improved safety features in skis, snowboards and sleds.

Forster said, "From midday onwards, the clinic practically gets invaded by victims, usually 30 to 40 a day. This is big business.

"Typically the snowboarders suffer upper body injuries, to the shoulders, arms, elbows and wrists, while the skiers hurt the lower half: knees, calves and tendons."

Uzbekistan eyes expanding access of agricultural products to S. Korean market
Uzbekistan eyes expanding access of agricultural products to S. Korean market
Results of work of Turkmenistan's oil, gas enterprises reviewed
Results of work of Turkmenistan's oil, gas enterprises reviewed
Turkmenistan's enterprise eyes to export polypropylene to Azerbaijan, Georgia
Turkmenistan's enterprise eyes to export polypropylene to Azerbaijan, Georgia
Loading Bars
India will back initiatives for peace in Afghanistan, says UNSC ambassador
5.8-magnitude quake hits 120 km ENE of Hasaki, Japan
UK reports highest daily COVID deaths since mid-March
Pentagon on lockdown after gunshots fired near Metro station
Covid-19 in India: Battery-operated robots help hospitals clean wards
'Made in India' Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine doses to be available from September-October: Dr Reddy's Laboratories
Israel adds 18 more countries under severe travel warning over COVID-19 concern
Azerbaijan's Pasha Insurance switches to new model, helping to optimize insurance process
Record exports in July, 33 per cent of $400 billion FY22 aim met in India
US approves sale of $82 million Harpoon Joint Common Test Sets to India
New York becomes first U.S. city to mandate COVID vaccines to enter restaurants, gyms
Uzbekistan eyes expanding access of agricultural products to S. Korean market
Turkish ministry talks ongoing work on highway construction projects (Exclusive)
Results of work of Turkmenistan's oil, gas enterprises reviewed
New details of extinguishing forest fires in Turkey by Azerbaijani firefighters disclosed (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds in Iran
Georgia's imports of medical products from Turkey down
"Procedure for managing information security in banks" included in state register of Azerbaijan’s legal acts
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for Aug. 3
Fees on compulsory insurance against loss of professional ability grows in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan identifying unknown martyrs buried in Alley of Martyrs in Baku
Azerbaijan confirms 931 more COVID-19 cases, 225 recoveries
Credit insurance market volume grows in Azerbaijan
President Erdogan grateful to President Aliyev for helping fight wildfires
Azerbaijan’s Hajigabul executive power opens tender to overhaul housing stock
International Bank of Azerbaijan launches tender for maintenance and repair of generators
Azerbaijan’s Trend news agency holds discussions on bill "On Media" (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan State Oil and Industrial University opens tender to buy machinery and equipment
Turkish FM expresses gratitude to Azerbaijan
Poland sees great opportunities for local investors in Georgia
Turkey’s import of carpets up
Export of cars from Turkey to world markets continues to grow in value
Assets of Bank BTB Azerbaijan grow in 2Q2021
Total liabilities of Bank BTB Azerbaijan increase in 2Q2021
Turkmenistan's enterprise eyes to export polypropylene to Azerbaijan, Georgia
Uzbekistan’s 1H2021 export of tomatoes down
BP seeks new opportunities to mitigate climate change in Georgia
Uzbekistan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for August 3
Container traffic on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway soars since early 2021
Value of Turkey's chemical exports grows higher in 7M2021
Uzbekistan considers exporting polyethylene products to Europe via Latvian exchange
Kazakhstan multifold increases petroleum gas export to Poland
Turkey highly appreciates work of Azerbaijan's firefighters in battling wildfires (PHOTO)
Russian Copper Company Group launches underground mine construction in Kazakhstan
Microsoft Azerbaijan eyes to prolong license for cloud solutions at schools, universities
Azerbaijani banks' foreign currency demand drops
Azerbaijan’s Bank VTB discloses net profit for 2Q2021
Turkey discloses number of trucks transported via its ports in 1H2021
IAF chief Bhadauria speaks to UAE counterpart on ways to strengthen ties between two forces
Ex-Australian PM Abbott in Delhi in new trade role, effort to kickstart trade talks
By 2030, India might lead the world in almost every category: Richard Verma
Turkey, Kazakhstan increase trade turnover
TBC Capital shares data on Georgia's real GDP growth
Re-registration of real estate greatly increases in Azerbaijan in 1H2021
Eurasian Development Bank allocates funds to provide for Kazakhstan's food security
Azerbaijan approves new silk farming standard
Azerbaijani wrestler victorious over Armenian, grabs bronze at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Uzbekistan notes fivefold increase in export of melons and watermelons
Azerbaijani Customs Committee fulfills forecast for budget transfers in 7M2021
Wine of Georgian Mshvenieradze Winery to enter European market
Two more European airlines resume flights to Georgia
Georgia reveals data on peach export volume
Iran's GTC discloses volume of wheat, rapeseed purchased in Fars Province
Iran shares data on mineral resources discovered in Sistan and Baluchestan Province
Iran’s ICOFC unveils volume of gas pumped into Shourijeh D storage facility
Azerbaijani president attends opening of new ASAN Service Center in Baku (PHOTO)
UN Resident Coordinator ready to support Azerbaijan in post-conflict recovery process (PHOTO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for August 3
Turkish ministry names number of ships docked at Iskenderun port since early 2021
Number of ships docking at Turkish Kocaeli port in 1H2021 disclosed
Employees in Uzbekistan refusing to be vaccinated may be suspended from work
Azerbaijani commercial banks post year-on-year growth in external assets
Uzbekistan may receive funds from IMF for economic recovery
SOCAR discloses reasons of Super gasoline price growth in Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan’s Fergana oil refinery switches to production of mineral oils
Generation capacity of Iran's thermal power plants up
Turkey reveals value of ongoing communication projects (Exclusive)
Uzbekistan’s total income tax on profits falls on gold, copper extraction enterprises
Georgia sees increase in Consumer Price Index
Uzbekistan’s 1H2021 completed construction work revealed
Turkey discloses 1H2021 cargo traffic via local ports from Lebanon
Turkey issues data on 6M2021 cargo shipment through Iskenderun port
Azerbaijani goods in steady demand in Russia - Ministry of Industry & Trade
Effective exchange rate of Azerbaijan rises in 1H2021
Georgian Geofresh blueberry company starts export to Dubai
Iran to make incentive payments to support non-oil exports
Kazakhstan twofold increases trade with Finland
Georgia sees significant increase in COVID-19 cases for August 3
Volume of 1H2021 cargo shipment from Portugal via Turkish ports disclosed
Iran's new president appointed by Supreme Leader
CPC increases monthly oil loading at its Marine Terminal
Indian Navy Eastern Fleet to deploy task force for two months in South China Sea
Prices for Azerbaijani oil slightly down
Bharat Biotech's Covaxin effective against Delta plus variant, says study
Azerbaijani currency rates for Aug.3
Kazakhstan's electric power distributing company opens tender to buy spares
Turkmenistan ranks second in export of oil in transit through Russia
'e-RUPI may completely negate pilferage'
PM Modi to chair debate at UNSC
Gold prices in Azerbaijan rebound
All news