An avalanche has killed a child and three other people are missing at a Russian resort competing to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The 10-year-old skier and the others were swept away after the avalanche hit a ski lift at the Krasnaya Polyana resort near the town of Sochi in the south of Russia.
Russian authorities closed ski lifts for two days at the resort this year because of safety concerns just days before a team from the International Olympic Committee inspected Sochi.
Sochi is short-listed along with Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea. The IOC will announce the winner by July, Herald Sun reports.
Sergei Petrov, a spokesperson for the emergency ministry's southern district, said the avalanche swept the four people off a chairlift.
An estimated 60 people were on the lift at the time.
Krasnaya Polyana, in the Caucasus Mountains about 45km east of the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, is visited annually by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a skiing holiday, the AP reports.
Together with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, who heads the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, Russian president Vladimir Putin hopes that Sochi will beat the rival campaigns from Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea - the I.O.C. will select the host city on July the 4th bearing in mind that Russia has never hosted the Winter Games.
Earlier, Putin stated that the project to develop the Krasnaya Polyana district is aimed not so much at hosting the Olympics, as for Russian citizens.
It will enable them to vacation at the Black Sea seaside - it is not just for those who live in Sochi, according to the president.
Among the main advantages of the Sochi-2014 project, which costs more than 314 billion roubles, is the unique geographic location of the town, which combines the Mediterranean and Alpine climates.
It does suffer from fogs or very cold spells, while the quality of snow cover in mountains is exemplary, zeenews.com reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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