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Mother and child die in avalanche after temperatures fell to -20C and their skis were blown away | World News


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A mother and her child have died after being caught in an avalanche in northern Finland, after temperatures dropped to -20C and the wind blew their skis away, police have said.

The woman, who has not been named, was found on Tuesday at 10pm local time, buried in an avalanche in the Pyhakuru Valley in Finnish Lapland, close to the border with Sweden.

The child, who has also not been identified, was found nearby at around 11.30am on Thursday.

The strong wind ‘reduced visibility significantly’, police said

The pair, who were not from Lapland, were heading for a local hotel after spending several days on a self-guided ski hike in the nearby Pallastunturi area, Lapland Police said on Thursday.

Temperatures in the area fell as low as -20C and the wind was strong, “which reduced visibility significantly”, police said.

Rescuers began searching for the pair on Tuesday after the woman raised the alarm at around 2pm.

The woman told emergency responders that wind had blown away their skis and ski poles, the Lapland rescue services chief Harri Paldanius, said, and that she said “it was really cold, and it was getting dark.”

Conditions were so bad, the two snowmobile operators said they “don’t recall experiencing something like this before. Driving a snowmobile on the fell was challenging, the mobiles were almost turned over by the wind,” Mr Paldanius added.

The woman had put her phone in her jacket pocket in order to save the battery, he added, but said “when we tried to reach them again, there was no answer, but the phone did ring.”

Last week a British mother and son were killed in an avalanche on Mont Blanc in France.

Their family said they are “beyond heartbroken” following the “tragic accident”.

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Rescuers began searching for the pair on Tuesday

In the Lapland search, efforts were focused on an avalanche about 400m wide in Pyhakuru, despite the size of the avalanche area and the risk of another one.

Packed snow and strong winds made for poor visibility and rescue dogs could only be used for very short periods at a time because of the frost.

The search had to be paused due to dangerous weather conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday night as safety was the priority, Lapland Police crime commissioner said.

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Written by: radioroxi

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