Death toll rises as heavy snowfall hits Europe

A man removes snow from a road during heavy snowfall in Eisenerz Austria

A Sydney schoolboy has died after being buried by an avalanche while skiing in Austria.

As they were waiting for a rescue team, a slab of snow broke away, causing an avalanche that covered the 16-year-old boy and his German mother.

Before emergency crews could reach the family an avalanche was triggered, covering Max and his mother in more than two metres of snow.

Rescuers found the boy 20-minutes after the avalanche but were unable to revive him. "The woman was able to free herself from the snow and remained unhurt".

The teenager was a student at Sydney's International Grammar School which has offered support to his family and fellow students.

'Max Meyer was about to enter Year 11, and his life has been tragically cut short, ' the principal, Shauna Colnan, said. "Such quantities of snow above 800m altitude only happen once every 30 to 100 years", said Alexander Radlherr from Austria's Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics.

The school has reopened today and will be open next week for any students in need of counselling or support.

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Yahoo7 News has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

A further Six German teenagers are lucky to be alive after emerging from an avalanche that engulfed them at Wildkogel resort in the Salzburg province.

Heavy snowfall continued on January 10 in parts of Austria and southern Germany with several places cut off and the bad weather is expected to persist.

Several railway lines in the Alps were closed because of the snow, and schools were closed in parts of Bavaria.

The natural disaster comes amid reports of snow and bad weather killing at least 17 people across Europe in recent days, according to the Daily Mail.

However, according to the publication, Elisabeth Koestinger, the Austrian minister responsible for tourism, said that "in most skiing areas, there is no reason for concern at present if people keep to the rules and don't leave the secured slopes".

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