Kiwi teen skier killed in Austrian avalanche named

Mon, Feb 6

A 17-year-old New Zealander who died in an avalanche in the Austrian alps has been identified as talented skier Will Cookson.

Friends have paid tribute to Cookson, who began competing on the slopes when he was just nine.

He was in Europe after competing last month.

His accolades include being overall New Zealand under-16 champion at the Junior Freeride Nationals.

He also won the under-18 division of the Mount Olympus Freeride Open.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokesperson told 1News yesterday, "We are aware of reports of at least five people killed in avalanches in Austria and Switzerland. For privacy reasons no further information will be provided".

Avalanches were reported in Tyrol and Vorarlberg — 30 of them by 5.30pm on Saturday (local time) in Tyrol alone. The situation was so delicate, at times rescuers had to stop their mission.

The series of avalanches also killed a 55-year-old winter sports enthusiast on Saturday and a 32-year-old Chinese skier a day earlier.

A 15-year-old was swept away by an avalanche in the Kitzbühel district and was seriously injured, APA reported.


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