Child saved from Kosovo avalanche

Rescuers cheered as the girl was brought out

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A young girl has been pulled alive from a house hours after it was hit by an avalanche which killed at least nine people in southern Kosovo.

She was found buried under 10 metres (33 ft) of snow after officers heard her voice and a mobile phone ringing, an official said.

Rescuers are still looking for one person after the avalanche hit a remote mountain village on the border with Albania and Macedonia on Saturday.

Several homes were destroyed.

Only two were said to be occupied at the time.

The rescued girl, named as Amerta Reka and thought to be between five and seven years old, was recovering in hospital in the nearby town of Prizren.

Doctors said her life was not in danger, AP news agency reported.

Map of Kosovo

Nato peacekeepers deployed in Kosovo had been called in to help rescue operations, but were unable to land a helicopter in the blizzard, the agency said.

Those who were found dead in the village of Restelica after Saturday's avalanche were two brothers and their families, a local official said.

"No bigger tragedy has ever struck this region,'' Behar Ramadani was quoted as saying.

The cold snap which started in Europe in late January has left dozens dead in the Balkans, AFP said.

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