Eight dead in weekend avalanches in Austria: police

Snow and avalanche protection fences are seen on a clear day on mountains surrounding Lech am Arlberg, western Austria, on February 18, 2013. (File photo: AFP)

Austrian police said Sunday that five people had been killed in avalanches in the west of the country, after three deaths were reported Saturday despite pleas for caution on ski slopes.

The eight deaths came as resorts are filled during the February school holidays in Vienna, with the avalanche alert level at four on a scale of five after several days of intense snowfall and wind.