Three bodies were found by search and rescue teams after an arctic avalanche hit a ski resort in Siberia

The three victims are reportedly members of the same family. Their eldest son survived and was taken to hospital. Other buildings were struck, but the bad weather meant most were empty at the time.

A view shows the accident scene after an avalanche hit a ski resort in the Siberian city of Norilsk
The scene after and arctic avalanche near Norilsk

A total of three people died in an avalanche that struck the Otdelnaya Gora ski resort in northern Russia overnight, investigators said on Saturday.

Authorities were notified at 00:30 a.m. local time (1730 UTC, Friday) of the avalanche near Norilsk — the world’s northernmost city.

Rescuers recovered the bodies of a 45-year-old man, named as Vladimir Popov, his 38-year-old partner and their 18-month-old child.

The couple’s eldest son, a 14-year-old boy, was found alive and “taken to the hospital with serious injuries,” including frostbite.

What do we know so far?

Between four and six huts at Otdelnaya Gora were buried by the snow, according to Russian media reports.

A search and rescue operation involving more than 200 people and 29 vehicles was launched.

Rescuers and volunteers take part in a search operation after an avalanche hit a ski resort
Search operation after an avalanche near Norilsk in northern Siberia

On Saturday morning the emergencies ministry branch in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region, which includes Norilsk, announced via Instagram that all of the missing people had been found.

It said it was calling off the search and rescue mission.

Two people made their own way to safety, according to Russian media reports.

A 14-year-old boy was taken to hospital with severe injuries

Most buildings unoccupied

All of the buildings were unoccupied at the time of the avalanche except for one, reported news agency AFP, citing volunteer rescuer Maxim Inikhov.

“We have a very strong blizzard so there were very few people vacationing today at the ski resort,” Inikhov told Rossiya-24 television.

Two people walked out of the avalanche alive, reported Russian media

Risk of more arctic avalanches

Siberian Norilsk often experiences huge snowstorms, including blizzards last month where wind speeds reached up to 27 meters per second.

The emergency services has warned that there is a threat of further avalanches.

The regional department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case into deaths by negligence as a result of safety violations.

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