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In the popular tourist destination of the Five Polish Lakes Valley in the Tatra Mountains, an avalanche occurred on Tuesday, sweeping away one person. Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue (TOPR) teams, dispatched by helicopter, are currently conducting search operations in the avalanche area.
According to a weather report from the Tatra National Park (TPN) on Tuesday, the weather conditions are conducive to mountain hikes. However, it is essential to remember that challenging conditions for tourism persist in the higher parts of the Tatras.
The avalanche swept away one person. “Upon arrival at the scene, it was determined that the missing person is on the surface. The search of the avalanche area is ongoing, involving 20 rescuers and two dogs. There are likely no other individuals in the avalanche,” stated the TOPR duty officer.
This incident follows several recent avalanches in the Tatras. On Sunday, an avalanche on Kondracka Pass under Giewont completely buried a tourist – it took TOPR rescuers two hours to locate and uncover the individual.
On Monday, a large avalanche descended from Marchwiczna Pass directly onto the frozen surface of Morskie Oko, breaking the ice. Avalanches also occurred towards the road to Morskie Oko.
Due to the 3 (considerable) level of avalanche danger, outings above the upper limit of the forest are discouraged. Trails in this part of the Tatras are in many places unmarked, with their course invisible. Deep snowdrifts have formed in some areas, and overhangs are present on the ridges.
Moving in such conditions requires experience, the ability to assess local avalanche risk, adjusting the route to current conditions, and having winter equipment (crampons, ice axe, helmet, avalanche safety gear) along with the skills to use it.