Three dead after avalanche strikes ski resort in Russia

Child is among those killed amid incident at complex near Arctic city of Norilsk

Rescuers work at an avalanche site north of Norilsk, Russia. Photograph: Irina Yarinskaya/AFP via Getty Images

Rescuers work at an avalanche site north of Norilsk, Russia. Photograph: Irina Yarinskaya/AFP via Getty Images

 

Three people were killed after an avalanche struck a ski resort near the Arctic city of Norilsk late on Friday, a local branch of Russia’s emergency services ministry said.

The bodies of two adults and a child were found as part of a search and rescue mission involving 242 people and 29 vehicles following the incident, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday. A 14-year-old boy was also hospitalised with frostbite.

Video footage showed emergency services staff and volunteers battling high winds and freezing conditions throughout the night to dig out buildings buried under snow and ice.

Adverse weather conditions, including snowstorms and strong winds, had complicated the work of rescuers, the emergency services said in a statement.

Russia’s investigative committee said it had despatched officers to the scene in Norilsk, a remote city of 180,000 situated 300km inside the Arctic Circle.

The committee has opened a criminal investigation, it said, to determine whether adequate safety measures had been in place. It was still seeking to determine who owned the four buildings that were engulfed.

The avalanche covered a total area of 300sq m, the management of the Gora Otdelnaya ski resort complex was cited as saying by the TASS news agency. – Reuters