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Avalanches, accidents bring Europe’s winter death toll to 21

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    Ice covers the landscape near to the Aralar Sanctuary, in Baraibar, northern Spain, Friday Jan. 11, 2019. Extreme low temperatures will affect the country during the week. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

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    A shepherd dog runs in front of a shepherd leading a herd of sheep over snow-covered meadows near the village Beska, 30 kilometres north of Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Heavy snowfall in the Balkans has closed down schools, left some remote villages cut off and disrupted traffic and power supplies in many areas in the region. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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    A car drives over a snow covered street in Dietges, Germany, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Uwe Zucchi/dpa via AP)

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    A car drives on a snow covered street at the Bavarian city Berchtesgaden, Germany, Friday, Jan 11, 2018, after Austria and southern Germany were hit by heavy snowfall. (Lino Mirgeler/dpa via AP)

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    A Bosnian woman walks on a snow covered road in a remote village near Kladanj, 80 kms north of Sarajevo, Bosnia, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Heavy snow descended on Balkan countries causing havoc in traffic and state or emergency declared in some areas.(AP Photo/Amel Emric)

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    A man skis on the road while passing a stone wall covered with icicles near to the small Pyrenees town of El Roncal, northern Spain, Friday Jan. 11, 2019. Extreme low temperatures will affect the country during the coming week. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

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    A shepherd leads a herd of sheep over snow-covered meadows near the village Beska, 30 kilometres north of Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Heavy snowfall in the Balkans has closed down schools, left some remote villages cut off and disrupted traffic and power supplies in many areas in the region. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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    A snow blower is seen on the Loferer Alp in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. In Salzburg, all parks, public gardens, play areas and cemeteries were closed on Friday because of the danger of trees falling under the weight of snow.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

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    The steeple of the Loferer church is seen through the snow in Lofer, Austrian province of Salzburg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 after a heavy snowfall. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

Published January 11. 2019 09:46PM

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Heavy snow paralyzed much of Europe for yet another day, cutting off mountain villages, sparking avalanches like one that crashed into a Swiss hotel and killing at least four more people Friday.

Workers at the Hotel Saentis in eastern Switzerland spent Friday shoveling out hip-deep snow after a 300-meter (330-yard) wide avalanche smashed through the hotel’s windows Thursday afternoon and piled up in rooms and the dining hall. Police said three people were hurt by avalanche in Schwaegalp.

In all, at least 21 weather-related deaths have been reported in Europe in the last 10 days.

The Bulgarian Red Cross said two snowboarders were killed died in an avalanche in southwest Bulgaria’s Pirin Mountains.

A snowplow driver died Friday in Germany after his vehicle toppled into an icy river, while an electrical worker in Albania suffered a fatal heart attack while repairing damaged power lines.

Austrian military helicopters on Friday flew 66 German teenagers out of a mountain guest house where they had been stuck for several days.

About 2,000 soldiers and other emergency workers in Albania were assigned to help people trapped by snow and to clear roads to restore access to cutoff villages.

Several towns and cities in southwest Serbia introduced emergency measures, warning of snow piling up on the roads and sealing off mountain villages, Serbian state TV reported Friday. Most schools in the area closed down and 10 people had to be rescued from their homes. Strong winds complicated the work of emergency crews.

In neighboring Montenegro, meteorologist Dragan Buric said the first 10 days of January have been among the coldest the country has seen in decades.

“We have snow in January in the capital city (Podgorica) for the first time in nine years,” Buric told Montenegrin state TV.

In the central Bosnian municipality of Kladanj, snow disrupted power supplies and cut phone lines. Zijad Vejzovic, from the civil protection agency, said authorities declared an emergency.

“Because of heavy snow, in some parts over 1 meter (3 feet) high, some of the roads have been blocked,” he explained. “We need more machines. We have run out of resources and money.”

In Germany and Austria, where heavy snow caused fatal avalanches and major disruptions in the past few days, the situation was easing Friday. Still, airlines canceled around 120 flights at Frankfurt Airport and 90 at Munich Airport because of concerns about snow.

Police in Lenggries, south of Munich, said the 48-year-old snowplow driver was rescued from the river after several hours but died in a hospital.

In the eastern German city of Chemnitz, all burials at the municipal cemetery through Monday were called off because of snow.

In the elegant Austrian city of Salzburg, all parks, public gardens, play areas and cemeteries were closed Friday because of the danger posed by trees cracking under the weight of snow.

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