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In the mountains: more accidents, fewer deaths

In the mountains: more accidents, fewer deaths
Police helicopter “Libelle” and mountain rescuers in action
Image: (BRD Gmunden)

266 fatal Alpine accidents occurred in Austria last year, as the Austrian Board of Alpine Safety (ÖKAS) took stock yesterday. That is a decrease compared to the ten-year average, which is 282, says Hans Ebner, head of the Alpine police.

Around every third fatal accident (88 in total) was registered in Tyrol, and 86 percent of those who died are male. Most of the accident victims came from Austria (171). 48 people came from Germany, eleven people from the Netherlands and ten people from the Czech Republic. The Upper Austria mountain rescue reported 26 deaths in the previous year.

According to ÖKAS statistics, 37 percent of fatal accidents occurred – unsurprisingly – while hiking and mountaineering. But in second place (13 percent) are forestry accidents that occurred in alpine terrain. 34 deaths were recorded in this category. Forestry work is risky, especially after windthrows. Non-professionals, such as private forest owners, are advised to complete training.

The third most common cause of death in the mountains (ten percent) was suicide last year. Only behind are fatal accidents during mountain biking (four percent) and climbing (three percent). Overconfidence may have played a major role in the fatal accidents. As in previous years, almost one in three deaths had cardiovascular disorders. The majority of this group was between 51 and 80 years old. Falling is the only cause of death, followed by stumbling or slipping.

There were a total of 9,583 non-fatal accidents last year, more than the ten-year average (8,171). For the ÖKAS experts, this is an indication that more and more people are traveling in the Alps. A total of 4,326 people had to be rescued from an unfortunate situation by the emergency services, even though they had not suffered any injuries. Overwhelm and incorrect self-assessment are also the main causes here.

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Source: Nachrichten

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