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Dramatic footage shows the moment several skiers were buried under an avalanche in the Austrian Alps on Christmas Day.

Around 200 people and eight helicopters were involved in a search and rescue operation after the avalanche hurtled down the mountain in the Zurs am Arlberg ski area at around 3pm local time (2pm UK time), Austria’s defence ministry said.

Initially, up to 10 people were feared missing, based on video from a witness.

But in the early hours of Boxing Day, police revealed that only four people had been buried after being caught up in the avalanche. All survived, despite their injuries.

One of them had been quickly rescued from the snow and flown to the hospital in Innsbruck with serious injuries.

The last two people unaccounted for contacted authorities late on Sunday and the search and rescue operation was suspended, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported on Monday

Local ski instructor Stefan Albrecht captured the moment of the avalanche on video and said he had “never seen such a big avalanche”.

Rescue workers stand near the site where an avalanche buried 10 skiers in the Lech/Zuers free skiing area on Arlberg, Austria, December 25, 2022. Police Vorarlberg/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Rescue workers stand near the avalanche site in western Austria

Mr Albrecht said he had been skiing with a colleague nearby when the avalanche began.

“I immediately decided to make a video… but did not know how bad the avalanche would be.”

Mr Albrecht said he and his colleague immediately rushed down to help search for victims.

He added that rescue crews and helicopters arrived soon after.

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