Blons Avalanches of 1954

The Blons avalanches in Austria was one of the worst mass burials by avalanche in recorded history.

This happened on February 10 and February 11.

The small village of Blons near Bludenz, Vorarlberg in the Austrian Alps was hit by an avalanche at 9:36 a.m. on 12 January 1954. A second avalanche hit the village at 7 p.m. as rescue workers attempted to dig out the 118 persons buried by the first avalanche. The village had a population of 365 people, of whom 57 were killed and 22 injured. 2 bodies were never found. 29 of the 90 buildings in the village were destroyed.

In the valleys of Austria's Vorarlberg Province, the toll was the worst in memory: 113 dead. The village of Blons alone was buried under two avalanches, one of them 90 ft. deep. "It looked." said an observer, "as though it had been hit with an Almighty fist." Swiss and U.S. Air Force helicopters flew in to Blons and the other hamlets to help the skiborne rescue workers. To rescue two villagers, Captain Billy Sayers of Lubbock, Texas maneuvered a ten-passenger whirlybird into a 30-ft. square stamped out on a Blons hillside by the boots of a rescue party.

An avalanche destroys the small village of Blons. Nine hours later, a second avalanche hits the town burying the rescuers. The total death toll is higher than 200.