Dramatic footage shows the moment an avalanche tore down a mountain in Austria in the early hours of December 26. It struck in a Trittkopf mountainous area between Zuers and Lech am Arlberg just before 1 am on Monday, according to the Austria Press Agency.
A video (below) shot on a smartphone shows a huge cascade of snow running into the path of a handful of skiers dotted around the piste. The group is totally engulfed by a the snow and a powdery cloud.
Up to 10 people had been feared buried after an incident, but luckily all missing people have been found alive. Police have said that four of the 10 people were injured, one of them seriously.
Avalanches can be triggered spontaneously, such as the snowpack weakening through thawing. It can have other natural causes such as rainfall, snowfall, or rockfall that cause the snow to slide. Skiers, snowmobiles, and animals can also be responsible for sparking avalanches.
Moving at speeds of up to 128 kilometers (80 miles) per hour, avalanches can prove to be a deadly force. People caught in avalanches can die from suffocation, trauma, or hypothermia. In the US alone, an average of 28 people die in avalanches every winter, according to the US Department of Homeland Security.