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Greek Skier Found Dead After Avalanche in Bulgaria’s Borovets

Borovets ski & snowboarding slopes, Borovets, Bulgaria, where an avalanche killed a Greek skier.
Borovets ski & snowboarding slopes, Borovets, Bulgaria, where an avalanche killed a Greek skier. Credit Paul Williams /flickr CC BY-NC-2.0 DEED

A Greek skier who was initially reported missing after an avalanche engulfed a group of Greek snow-sport enthusiasts at Bulgaria’s Borovets ski resort has been found dead.

The incident occurred this afternoon, Monday, February 12th, in the area of Markudjik 3, after which a rescue mission was launched to locate the Greek man, who was initially reported missing.

“Earlier we met the group and commented that the place is very dangerous,” Stefan Hristov, a member of the rescue operation told bTV, as reported by Novinite. “Minutes later we saw them coming down the steepest part one after the other. They didn’t carry backpacks. Apparently, they were not prepared.”

“During the descent, one of them cut the slope horizontally, which should not be done,” he explained. “The whole slope started moving—around 150 meters was the length of the avalanche. It split off at a height of about two meters. It was extremely spectacular to watch, but it was not at all nice and peaceful knowing they were there. We called 112. Then the emergency rescue left, and we arrived a little before them.”

Group of Greek Citizens Affected by Avalanche in Borovets, Bulgaria

The director of the Mountain Rescue Service, Emil Neshev, said, “The incident involved Greek citizens. They did not have the avalanche equipment with them, which [is] mandatory for off-track skiing. The Markudjik 3 track is not currently working, and they have taken a purposeful risk there. They entered an extremely risky terrain.”

According to earlier reports, several members of the Greek group of skiers managed to escape the avalanche, but one individual, the man whose body has now been found, was buried beneath the snow. The Mountain Rescue Service was reportedly alerted to the situation at about 2:13 pm by a witness from the group.

It is unclear exactly how many people were in the area where the avalanche struck, but it is believed that there were four Greek nationals present at the time of the disaster.

In response to the emergency situation in the Borovets ski resort, more than fifteen mountain rescuers with four search dogs were deployed to search for any signs of the previously missing person amidst the snow. The avalanche is estimated to have been around 150 meters in length and nearly 30 meters in width.

Following the incident, the Mountain Rescue Service issued a warning advising individual skiers and snowboarders to avoid the winding northern, northeastern, and eastern slopes of Borovets.

Borovets is a small town on the northern slopes of Bulgaria’s Rila Mountains. It is the gateway to several ski and snowboard runs on Rila National Park’s Musala Ridge.
In 2016, a British skier who took to the runs in Bulgaria marginally escaped in his socks from a pack of wolves after accidentally going off-track and crashing into a tree while on vacation.

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