Austrian troops airlifted a group of German students stranded at a snowbound ski resort on Friday, as emergency services scrambled to clear record snowfall across large parts of the country.The army said it used two helicopters to transport the group of 66 pupils and teachers from the central ski station of Kasberg in Gruenau. It had been cut off for days due to the heavy snowfall covering much of the west and centre of the country.
The group, from Dortmund in western Germany, arrived there last Saturday, but the station was forced to shut a few days ago due to the risk of avalanches, falling trees and power blackouts. Austria has been hit by record snowfall for more than a week. Many roads have been impassable because of a lack of the road salt needed to grit them.
A break in the weather enabled soldiers, firefighters, other public employees and volunteers to clear some of the snow on Friday, but more is expected at the weekend. Some 500 soldiers have been drafted in to clear roads and roofs in the most heavily affected areas, and a further 1,000 soldiers are on standby, the government said.