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

A train got stuck in the snow on the Brocken mountain in the Harz region of Germany

Austrian media reports say the 16-year-old boy's family got into rough terrain skiing on Thursday and sent a call for help in St Anton, in the Tyrolean Alps.

Sydney student Max Meyer was on a holiday to Austria with his family when he was tragically caught in an avalanche.

Police said the family had left their ski resort at around 4.40 p.m. local time.

The Daily Mail quoted a police statement saying the avalanche had "covered the mother and also the 16-year-old son".

Rescuers could only retrieve Meyer's body about 20 minutes later.

Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

International Grammar School principal Shauna Colnan said she broke the tragic news to students on Thursday. "I have spoken with Max's father and have extended my deepest condolences on behalf of the IGS school community, and offered the family all of our support".

The department of foreign affairs is providing assistance to the family.

The avalanche happened while they were waiting for rescuers.

The death toll from severe weather in Europe has risen to at least 17 as heavy snowfall continued to cause problems in Austria and southern Germany.

More than a dozen people have been killed in weather-related accidents across the continent over the past week, most in avalanches.

The Weather Channel reported that more light snow was expected over south-east Europe on Friday with Greece to western Turkey remaining unsettled under low pressure with a mixture of rain and snow.

However, according to the publication, Elisabeth Koestinger, the Austrian minister responsible for tourism, said that "in most skiing areas, there is no reason for concern at present if people keep to the rules and don't leave the secured slopes".

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