Sunday, 06 March 2011 00:00

District Court Innsbruck: New Special Division for Alpine Accidents

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District court Innsbruck: new specific division

02/24/11: Innsbruck:

The district court Innsbruck got a new specific division for the professional jurisprudence in climbing and alpine accidents.


Until now judges where reliant to experts regarding for example the appraisal of the snow conditions if a mountain guide was claimed for a deadly avalanche accident in an area with avalanche warning 4. For years it has been criticized that many judges have been overextended with the professional alpine knowledge.

New competency for alpine accidents

Since February for this reason the district court Innsbruck installed a special alpine division. The special division alpine gets the competency for jurisprudence in mountain, ski, avalanche and climbing accidents. The division is led by a criminal court judge with an alpine education: Dr. Norbert Hofer is not only a judge but also the leader of the mountain rescue Telfs. Hofer proclaims that experts are crucial for the appraisal of an area that was buried of an avalanche or a skiing area after an accident: “I am glad that I made it after 2 years of convincing to install an alpine division in the Innsbruck district court…”

In the last winter season 2009/2010 45 people died on the Austrian ski slopes and in the “organized skiing area”. 39 of them died in an avalanche. In accordance with a statistic of the curatorship for alpine security from 1st of November 2009 to 1st of November 2010 33 backcountry skiers died and 18 free riders. But most of the alpine accidents in this time (306) happened in hiking or mountaineering.

Small accidents

In this season the condition of the slopes caused mostly small accidents, Hanno Bliek of the curatorship explains. Since 1st of November 2010 5 people died – 2 because of ski accidents in Tirol, 2 because of problems with their heart and one because of a collision in Salzburg. 2 people died in avalanches in Tirol and Salzburg. Caught by this statistic are all cases in which the alpine police was called.

In the “organized skiing area” 3480 accidents with the suspicion of third party fault were registered by the curatorship. It is estimated that 90% of the accidents are self-inflicted and 8 to 11% are caused by collisions with other persons, barriers, gear or trees.

Most of the people involved in accidents where Germans (2.275), followed by Austrians (1.586) and also 444 Dutch, 175 Brits, 166 Czechs and 105 Danish where involved. People aged 11 to 20 were with a part of 22% the most of the involved, followed by the 41 to 50 year old (19%) and the 21 to 31 aged (15%). Most of the accidents happen in Tirol, Salzburg and Voralberg.


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