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Seven dead after avalanches

Paris/Vienna - Seven people were killed on Tuesday in the French and Austrian Alps after being caught in avalanches, authorities in both countries said.

Four climbers died in the southern French Alps, the prefecture of the Hautes Alpes region said. Their nationalities were not yet known.

The accident took place in a steep gully underneath the Barre des Enfers peak on the border with Italy.

Le Dauphine Libere newspaper said their guide survived but sustained injuries.

In Austria, a German back-country skier was buried by an avalanche after he tried to cut short his trek near the Hoher Riffler peak in Tyrol because of bad weather.

Snow masses also pushed an Austrian off-piste skier against a tree and killed him near the town of Obertauern in Salzburg province.

Another German skier died when he was hit by a second avalanche in the same province. His companion survived, because he was wearing an avalanche air bag that kept him above the snow. - Sapa-dpa

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