Post-Christmas avalanches in Italy that killed 7 have provided a sobering reminder of the dangers they pose. In this instance it seems that a couple of people disregarded warnings of a high risk of avalanche and ventured out on snowshoes before being swept away. A group of rescuers including guides and instructors set out to look for them at night before itself being hit. Four of them were apparently killed.
Elsewhere three Germans were said to be caught in a slide in the mountains west of Bolzano. The Guardian Newspaper noted that:
Rescue efforts were delayed by the fact that none of three was carrying a beacon or other location-indicating device.
Until the facts of the incident are clearer it won’t be known whether avalanche beacons or other avalanche safety gear might have saved lives, but it is certainly a reminder to carry items such as snow beacons, snow probes, snow shovels and possibly more advanced equipment such as an Avalung or Avalanche Airbag System.