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Over 100 people on German school trip airlifted to safety in Austrian Alps

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By AP  with Euronews
Rescue search workers are suspended from a helicopter ferrying searchers to the scene of an avalanche.  February 2019.
Rescue search workers are suspended from a helicopter ferrying searchers to the scene of an avalanche. February 2019.   -   Copyright  Extremwetter & News TV via AP

Authorities in Austria say more than 100 students and teachers have been airlifted to safety after getting stuck on a mountainous ridge.

The school trip from Germany had been trekking up to Walmendingerhorn summit before getting into difficulty. The teachers had reportedly been using an online guide that had directed them onto an unmarked and difficult trail.

Authorities say that the route is partly exposed and involves sections that required climbing equipment and Alpine experience.

When part of the group decided to turn back, two students slipped and sustained minor injuries in the rain, police added. A teacher then decided to call the emergency services, prompting the rescue operation.

A total of 99 students — aged 12 to 14 — and eight teachers from Ludwigshafen in Germany were lifted from the ridge by helicopter ropes.

Police in the western state of Vorarlberg said more than 60 rescuers — including the local mayor —took part in the operation late on Tuesday.

“Several students were exhausted, chilled, wet and completely distraught,” the statement said, adding that a crisis intervention team had also been called in.