Over 90 scared children airlifted of mountain after teachers led them to danger

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Teachers led 99 terrified school children onto an extremely dangerous mountain hiking route and had to be airlifted to safety.

Two helicopters and 50 extraction experts were required to save the kids from a route so treacherous it had been removed from official tourist guides.

A teacher leading the party of German pupils, aged between 12 and 14, called for help when they and eight adults became trapped on the mountainous route in Hirschegg on the Austrian-German border.

It quickly became apparent that the exhausted children could not go on or head back.

Furious Austrian officials have now slammed the adults for misreading hazard advice.

Police said many of the children were not wearing adequate hiking footwear and two pupils injured themselves after falling on the rocky trail amid heavy rain, reports The Mirror.

Klaus Drexel – spokesman for the Vorarlberg Mountain Rescue Association – said it was lucky his team had access to two helicopters for the rescue.

Drexel said: “We split them into groups. The worsening weather conditions made this operation even more challenging.

“We consider recent developments on the internet very critical.

"Some trails that are listed and rated on different websites don't even exist anymore.”

It later emerged that the teacher planning the trip chose the route after reading a post on a hiking website.

It was described as an ideal opportunity for a "relaxed after-work stroll".

But she failed to notice that the post's author was an expert climber who had posted nearly 300 hiking and climbing reports.

Drexel later warned: “Naively trusting what you read somewhere online can get you in unpleasant situations.”

He appealed to tourists who are unsure about hiking trails to ask the local tourism office or alpine associations for advice.

Several pupils reportedly suffered from hypothermia and some needed counselling from local psychologists.

Vorarlberg Police spokesman Wolfgang Duer said: “Our teams concentrated on getting the students into the valley as quickly as possible.

"The rescue call was made in the late afternoon and it getting dark quickly.”

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It is unclear whether the school will have to foot the bill for the rescue.

Local police have filed a report to the state prosecution in Feldkirch.

In recent years, Austrian authorities have intensified their attempts to charge tourists for complex rescue operations.

There have been numerous cases of careless holidaymakers airlifted to safety after opting for challenging hiking paths wearing just flip flops or trainers.

Andreas Haid, the mayor of the local town of Mitterberg, said it was getting harder and harder to verify the quality of hiking reports on the internet.

Haid said: “There are more and more individuals acting totally irresponsible by posting such texts online.”

Vorarlberg Police said: “The narrow Heuberggrat path features climbing passages. Individuals with a lack of experience should not take it.

“That is the reason why the local tourism office decided to remove it from their maps some time ago.”

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