Unimog used to clear heavy snow from rooftops amid winter chaos in Austria.
As the new year begins, the heaviest snowfall in decades has turned parts of Austria and Bavaria into disaster areas. Several municipalities are no longer accessible with conventional vehicles, cut off from the outside world and thus lacking supplies. The risk of an avalanche is ever present, residents of areas badly affected by the snow are not even safe in their own homes. Many of the rooftops will be unable to withstand the heavy snow for long. It is a race against time for the firefighters, the THW disaster relief teams and many other emergency personnel who are trying to remove the snow before the buildings collapse.
There is considerable effort required from both man and machine at Amstetten’s fire department in Lower Austria when it comes to tackling the snow. One of the most important tools: the extreme off-road Unimog.
Side by side: Unimog and the firefighters.
Around 300 helpers from the fire department and the Federal Armed Forces have been working at an altitude of 1400 metres, day in day out, to free the buildings and lift systems at the valley station of the popular Hochkar ski resort from vast quantities of snow. Time and again, they have been dispatched to Austria’s Styria in order to coordinate their response according to urgency.
One of the biggest problems: rooftops that prove difficult to free from the many metres of snow. This work is not without risk for the response teams involved. In many poorly accessible places, the snow needs to be manually removed using a broom and shovel. Additional precautions involving hooks and rope are constantly needed to protect against falling.
Heavy machinery is required for large areas or those particularly high up. Many commercial vehicles don’t even make it to the location in question due to all the snow. These situations call for a special kind of “snow angel”. Two off-road Unimog trucks are thus being used by Amstetten’s fire department to tackle the extreme conditions. Equipped with a crane structure and clamshell bucket, these special trucks are supporting the difficult clearance operations.