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Austria avalanche kills 3; Ski patrollers killed in France

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The steeple of the Loferer church is seen through the snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 after a heavy snowfall. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

BERLIN (AP) — Three German skiers have been killed in an avalanche in Austria and a fourth is still missing, police said Sunday as snowfall set in again in the northern Alps. In France, two ski patrollers were killed when the devices they use to trigger avalanches exploded.

The two accidents brought to at least 26 the number of weather-related deaths reported in parts of Europe this month.

In Austria, the wife of one of the German skiers reported them missing on Saturday. The bodies of the men, aged 57, 36 and 32, were recovered later Saturday evening near the ski resort of Lech.

Police in Vorarlberg, Austria's westernmost province, said they had to call off the search for another missing German skier in the group, age 28, because of heavy snow and the risk of avalanches.

Police said the four friends had apparently skied onto a trail that was closed. Although they had avalanche protection equipment and deployed airbags, the victims were buried by the avalanche and suffered multiple injuries. They were located with the help of cellphone tracking.

In France, the Haute-Savoie region's high mountain gendarmerie said the two ski patrollers were killed Sunday morning in Morillon before ski slopes were opened to the public. Officers were investigating the scene to determine the cause of the rare accident.

Ski patrollers are in charge of preventing potential dangers to skiers, notably by triggering controlled avalanches with powerful explosive charges.

Authorities in southern Germany and Austria had used a break in the weather to clear heavy loads of snow from roofs and roads, but snow set in again on Saturday night.

In the Bavarian town of Kempten, local authorities closed 11 sports halls as a precaution through Tuesday fearing that the weight of snow on their roofs was posing increasing dangers, the German news agency dpa reported.

Trains between the German cities of Munich and Lindau were traveling more slowly than usual because of a risk of snow-laden trees falling onto the tracks.

The small Alpine resort of Balderschwang on Germany's border with Austria was cut off Sunday after the pass leading to it was closed for fear of avalanches.

In central Switzerland, trains carrying cars through the Furka tunnel were suspended because of an avalanche on a nearby road.

Due to the danger of an avalanche a mountain pass road is closed in Obermaiselstein, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
A truck and a traditional cart pass each other in the snow-covered village of Nesutychi, 140 km (87 miles) west of Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Daily temperatures dropped to around -3 Celsius (27 Fahrenheit) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A man rides a traditional cart through the wind in the snow-covered village of Nesutychi, 140 kilometers (87 miles) west of Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Daily temperatures dropped to around - 3 C ( 27 F) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A man prepares a horse to ride tourists during a cold winter day at a hill, near the Assumption Cathedral built in XVI century in the background, in the small Russian town of Dmitrov, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) north from Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Temperatures dipped to -10 C (14 F) in Moscow and -13 C (9 F) at night. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Solidiers from the Austrian Bundesheer clean a roof from snow on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Waidring. Austrian province of Tyrol.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A railway cleans snow from the rails on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Hochfilzen, Austrian province of Tyrol.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A man cleans snow from a roof on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in St. Jakob, Austrian province of Tyrol.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Kayaker make their way on the river Saalach on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Kayaker make their way on the river Saalach on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Men clean a roof from snow  in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A danger sign
A snow blower works on a road at the Loferer Alp, Austrian province of Salzburg, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 .(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Two woman make their way through the fresh snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
The steeple of the Loferer church is seen through the snow on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A car drives on a snow covered street at the Bavarian city Berchtesgaden, Germany, Friday, Jan 11, 2018, after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Lino Mirgeler/dpa via AP)
A road in a forest is cleaned from snow in Schongau, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
A track vehicle of the German army provides food to a village near Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after southern Germany and Austria have been hit by heavy snowfall. (Bernd Maerz/dpa via AP)
A man and a bus make their way on a street in Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after large parts of southern Germany and Austria were hit by heavy snowfall. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)
A snow plough cleans a street in Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after large parts of southern Germany and Austria were hit by heavy snowfall. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)
A car drives on a road through a forest in Schongau, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
People clear a roof from snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. In Salzburg, all parks, public gardens, play areas and cemeteries were closed on Friday because of the danger of trees falling under the weight of snow.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A firefighter removes a snow covered fallen tree on a road in Hofsgrund, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP)
Due to the danger of an avalanche a mountain pass road is closed in Obermaiselstein, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
A danger sign
A danger sign " danger of avalanches" displayed at a closed street in Weissbach near Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Solidiers from the Austrian Bundesheer clean a roof from snow on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Waidring. Austrian province of Tyrol.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Solidiers from the Austrian Bundesheer clean a roof from snow on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Waidring. Austrian province of Tyrol.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A man cleans snow from a roof on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in St. Jakob, Austrian province of Tyrol.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A man cleans snow from a roof on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in St. Jakob, Austrian province of Tyrol.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A man prepares a horse to ride tourists during a cold winter day at a hill, near the Assumption Cathedral built in XVI century in the background, in the small Russian town of Dmitrov, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) north from Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Temperatures dipped to -10 C (14 F) in Moscow and -13 C (9 F) at night. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A man prepares a horse to ride tourists during a cold winter day at a hill, near the Assumption Cathedral built in XVI century in the background, in the small Russian town of Dmitrov, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) north from Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Temperatures dipped to -10 C (14 F) in Moscow and -13 C (9 F) at night. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
People clear a roof from snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. In Salzburg, all parks, public gardens, play areas and cemeteries were closed on Friday because of the danger of trees falling under the weight of snow.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
People clear a roof from snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. In Salzburg, all parks, public gardens, play areas and cemeteries were closed on Friday because of the danger of trees falling under the weight of snow.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Due to the danger of an avalanche a mountain pass road is closed in Obermaiselstein, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
Due to the danger of an avalanche a mountain pass road is closed in Obermaiselstein, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
A car drives on a snow covered street at the Bavarian city Berchtesgaden, Germany, Friday, Jan 11, 2018, after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Lino Mirgeler/dpa via AP)
A car drives on a snow covered street at the Bavarian city Berchtesgaden, Germany, Friday, Jan 11, 2018, after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Lino Mirgeler/dpa via AP)
A track vehicle of the German army provides food to a village near Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after southern Germany and Austria have been hit by heavy snowfall. (Bernd Maerz/dpa via AP)
A track vehicle of the German army provides food to a village near Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after southern Germany and Austria have been hit by heavy snowfall. (Bernd Maerz/dpa via AP)
A man and a bus make their way on a street in Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after large parts of southern Germany and Austria were hit by heavy snowfall. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)
A man and a bus make their way on a street in Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after large parts of southern Germany and Austria were hit by heavy snowfall. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)
A snow blower works on a road at the Loferer Alp, Austrian province of Salzburg, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 .(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A snow blower works on a road at the Loferer Alp, Austrian province of Salzburg, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 .(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Due to the danger of an avalanche a mountain pass road is closed in Obermaiselstein, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
Due to the danger of an avalanche a mountain pass road is closed in Obermaiselstein, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
Men clean a roof from snow  in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Men clean a roof from snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Kayaker make their way on the river Saalach on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Kayaker make their way on the river Saalach on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A road in a forest is cleaned from snow in Schongau, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
A road in a forest is cleaned from snow in Schongau, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
A snow plough cleans a street in Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after large parts of southern Germany and Austria were hit by heavy snowfall. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)
A snow plough cleans a street in Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after large parts of southern Germany and Austria were hit by heavy snowfall. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)
A man rides a traditional cart through the wind in the snow-covered village of Nesutychi, 140 kilometers (87 miles) west of Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Daily temperatures dropped to around - 3 C ( 27 F) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A man rides a traditional cart through the wind in the snow-covered village of Nesutychi, 140 kilometers (87 miles) west of Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Daily temperatures dropped to around - 3 C ( 27 F) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A car drives on a road through a forest in Schongau, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
A car drives on a road through a forest in Schongau, southern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa via AP)
Two woman make their way through the fresh snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Two woman make their way through the fresh snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A truck and a traditional cart pass each other in the snow-covered village of Nesutychi, 140 km (87 miles) west of Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Daily temperatures dropped to around -3 Celsius (27 Fahrenheit) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A truck and a traditional cart pass each other in the snow-covered village of Nesutychi, 140 km (87 miles) west of Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Daily temperatures dropped to around -3 Celsius (27 Fahrenheit) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A railway cleans snow from the rails on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Hochfilzen, Austrian province of Tyrol.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A railway cleans snow from the rails on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Hochfilzen, Austrian province of Tyrol.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
The steeple of the Loferer church is seen through the snow on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
The steeple of the Loferer church is seen through the snow on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
A firefighter removes a snow covered fallen tree on a road in Hofsgrund, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP)
A firefighter removes a snow covered fallen tree on a road in Hofsgrund, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP)
Kayaker make their way on the river Saalach on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Kayaker make their way on the river Saalach on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
The steeple of the Loferer church is seen through the snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 after a heavy snowfall. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
The steeple of the Loferer church is seen through the snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 after a heavy snowfall. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)