20 February 2023
The 8 February 2023 rockfall in Steyr, Austria
On Wednesday 8 February 2023 a large rockfall occurred at Christkindl in the town of Steyr in Austria, killing two men, both operators of excavators working at the site. Steyr News has a gallery of images of the aftermath of the tragic accident:-
The same source has a view from another angle:-
News reports suggest that the slope at Steyr was identified as being potentially unstable a year ago, and that the operations at the site were intended to mitigate the hazard. The houses at the foot of the slope had been evacuated during the works. In fact, the boulders appear to have missed the main part of the houses, although some smaller structures have been destroyed. Tragically, it took almost a week to recover the bodies of the two victims due to the complexities of the site. Moving boulders on this scale is extremely difficult.
The location of the accident appears to be 48.039, 14.385. News reports indicate that the rockfall was about 3,000 cubic metres in total.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand the true extent of the devastation wrought by Cyclone Gabrielle is becoming ever more clear. Stuff has a gallery of images of the destruction in just one area, the Esk Valley. It is worth a look. The BBC reports that the rebuild cost is likely to be similar to that of the Christchurch Earthquake sequence. New Zealand only has 122,000 people with a taxable income of greater that NZ$150,000 (US$93,600), so this is an enormous burden to carry, on top of the costs of the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, and other recent climate related disasters.