A large avalanche has slammed into a hotel in southern Germany as the worst snowfall in 30 years continues to batter Europe.
The huge wall of snow smashed into Hotel Hubertus and caused ‘massive damage’ to at least four buildings in the village of Balderschwang, near the Austrian border.
All 100 guests staying at the hotel avoided injury and have been evacuated, officials say.
But more than a thousand people remain trapped in the same village because of an avalanche risk on roads following days of intense snowfall.
It comes as police warned that further rain and snowfall forecast for later this week could trigger dangerous floods in the area.
An avalanche has slammed into a hotel in Balderschwang, Bavaria causing ‘massive damage’ to the building
All 100 guests at the hotel have been safely evacuated, but 1,100 people are trapped in the village as the surrounding roads are at risk of avalanches
The Alpine region is at further risk of avalanches as more snowfall is expected this week
Authorities in parts of Austria, Germany and Switzerland have warned that further snow and rainfall is raising the risk of avalanches, and increasing the weight on snow-laden roofs.
Meteorologists have described the avalanche situation in the Alps as critical, as the area enters a second week of disruption with several schools shut and residents unable to get to work.
It is the worst snowfall in Europe for at least 30 years and a state of emergency was in force across parts of the continent last night. More than 3m (10ft) of snow fell over the weekend in some areas of the Alps, with another 60cm forecast for today.
Meanwhile the death toll from avalanches or weather-related accidents across central Europe has risen to at least 26.
A snowplough removes snow at the access to the Riedberg Pass in the direction of Balderschwang in Obermaiselstein, Germany, 14 January 2019
Two employees at a ski resort in the French Alps were killed yesterday when the avalanche-control charges they were trying to set accidentally went off.
The pair of French workers were carrying out a controlled explosion when the accident took place at the Morillon ski resort. Mountain rescue experts said they had been working on an avalanche prevention programme.
Three German skiers were also killed over the weekend when an avalanche hit the resort of Lech in the Tyrol region of Austria.
An avalanche hit a hotel in Balderschwang and the village has been cut off since yesterday because of the threat of avalanches
A sign reading ‘closed due to avalanche danger’ is seen at the access area to the Riedberg Pass in the direction of Balderschwang in Obermaiselstein, Germany this morning
Risky work: A man clears snow from a roof in Lofer in the province of Salzburg, Austria, today
The alps have received heavy snowfalls over the past days with weather forecasters warning that conditions could cause blocked roads and increased avalanche danger in many parts of the affected regions. This was the scene in Lofer in the province of Salzburg, Austria, today
The bodies of the men, aged 32, 36 and 56, were found on Saturday. They were skiing with a 28-year-old companion who is still missing, but the search had to be postponed yesterday because of adverse weather.
The group of four had been near Lech am Arlberg using touring skis, which enable skiers to climb as well as ski down slopes and explore off-piste.
It came after several days of heavy snowfall which saw the army called in to secure roads and buildings and help with a number of evacuations.
The snow paralysed much of Europe, cutting off mountain villages and sparking avalanches. In parts of Austria 10ft of snow was reported.
Other fatalities have included people involved in road accidents or hit by falling trees.
A road in the Black Forest is closed due to snow in Seebach, southern Germany, this morning
Heavy snow paralysed much of Europe for yet another day, cutting off mountain villages and sparking avalanches
Bavarian mountain rescue service cars make their way down to the access of the Riedberg Pass in the direction of Balderschwang this morning after an avalanche smashed into a hotel
Last week British holidaymaker Jeff Martin, 65, collapsed on a ski lift after suffering a heart attack and then fell from a height of 32ft. Emergency services tried in vain to resuscitate him for 30 minutes.
Mr Martin, an accomplished sailor who lived in Falmouth and officiated at the London 2012 Olympics, was on holiday in the ski resort of Méribel.
British skiers were among thousands facing long delays on their airport transfers to and from resorts in Austria due to road conditions, but travel industry sources said they had heard no reports of Britons snowed in or trapped.
Last week in Switzerland, a 1,000ft-wide avalanche ploughed through the front of a hotel while diners were eating. Three people were injured but miraculously there were no deaths.