'Heartbreaking': Tributes flow for Australian teen killed by avalanche

A snow plough clears the A9 highway in Garching southern Germany

The 16-year-old was skiing off-piste with his family at the time.

It has been reported that the boy was skiing with his parents and 14-year-old brother they were caught in hard off-piste terrain and called for help.

The boy was stuck under the snow for 20 minutes and could not be revived once he was pulled free.

The teenager was a student at Sydney's International Grammar School which has offered support to his family and fellow students.

The boy was a German-Australian who went to school in Sydney.

Principal Shauna Colnan says the 16-year-old was about to start year 11 but his life had "tragically been cut short". "I have also advised our school community that if they need support, they can reach out to our counsellors and to senior staff and me for help".

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In neighbouring Slovakia, the mountain rescue service said a 37-year-old man was killed by an avalanche in the Mala Fatra mountains.

The natural disaster comes amid reports of at least 17 people being killed across Europe by snow and severe weather in recent days, according to the Daily Mail.

Six German teenagers fortunately emerged alive from an avalanche that engulfed them at the Wildkogel resort in Austria's Salzburg province.

Parts of Austria and southern Germany experienced heavy snowfall on Thursday, as bad weather caused problems across Europe.

Several railway lines in the Alps were closed because of the snow, and schools were closed in parts of Bavaria.

Roads into several places were closed - although Galtuer in western Austria, where a massive avalanche in 1999 killed 31 people, was reachable again on Thursday after being cut off.