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Dombay ski resort - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Avalanche Hits Dombai Ski Resort in Russia, Up to 12 People Feared Trapped Under Snow

According to preliminary reports, two ski rentals and a cafe were struck by the avalanche. Emergency services have already dispatched several crews, who are currently working at the scene of the incident.

An avalanche has hit a ski resort in the Russian region of Karachay-Cherkessia on Mount Mussa-Achitara in Dombai, the emergency services stated on Monday, adding that up to 12 people may be trapped under the snow.

According to the local authorities, the disaster could have been triggered by an artificial seismic impact in another place, where an avalanche occurred in accordance with a plan, without causing any damage or harm to people.

"Today we performed an impact, 'fired' at an avalanche centre, causing an avalanche that did no harm to anyone. But the seismic wave, most likely, triggered an avalanche coming down from another source, and it went to the lower station of the drag lift", emergency service official Khizir Chochaev said.

He noted that, according to preliminary data, the avalanche was of medium size - around several tens of thousands of cubic metres of snow.

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19:02 GMT 18.01.2021
18:19 GMT 18.01.2021

The search and rescue operation has currently been discontinued due to nightfall and unfavourable weather conditions, head of the Karachay-Cherkess Department of the Russian Emergencies Ministry Alexander Golokolenko said.

14:32 GMT 18.01.2021
14:00 GMT 18.01.2021

"Eyewitnesses said that the avalanche was caused artificially, as there were hopes that the snow mass would go in the direction of the forest. This is a gross violation of safety regulations. Not a single avalanche service releases avalanches if there is a threat to human life. It is always done when the resort is closed", a source with the Russian Avalanche Centre told Sputnik.

13:42 GMT 18.01.2021
13:12 GMT 18.01.2021

"Six people are alive, they helped to dig them out, we are looking for one more person right now", a member of the rescue team told Sputnik.

13:09 GMT 18.01.2021
13:08 GMT 18.01.2021
12:59 GMT 18.01.2021
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