French Alps avalanche disaster

Posted BY: Jasmine | NwoReport

Two more bodies have been found buried in snow after an avalanche struck near Mont Blanc in the French Alps – as the death toll climbs to six.

Authorities in France confirmed they have now ended their search for bodies as they are unaware of any other missing persons who may have been caught by the snow tumbling down the Armancette glacier, spokesman Emmanuel Coquand said.

Coquand declined to comment on the identity of the six people but local media reported that among those killed in the disaster were two mountain guides and four clients, all French, including a couple in their 40s and a young woman and man in their 20s. 

One person also suffered slight injuries in the avalanche while eight others also swept up were unharmed, the prefecture said. The avalanche, covered an area of 3,280 ft by 1,640ft.

Coquand said the six had been skiing off-piste, or out of the area when the avalanche struck. 

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No avalanche warning had been issued for the region by weather authority Meteo France, but a combination of warmth and wind may have been behind the disaster, the prefecture added. 

Emergency responders had deployed a helicopter as well as mountain rescue dogs to the scene, although the prefecture warned a further avalanche could not be ruled out.

The avalanche, one of France‘s worst in recent years, came during the Easter long weekend when skiers from around the country and the UK flocked to the popular spot. 

The glacier lies near the village and ski resort of Les Contamines-Montjoie, almost 20 miles southwest of Chamonix. Two brothers died in an avalanche on the same glacier in 2014, and both were experienced climbers in their 20s.

The emergency operation was suspended in the evening but will resume at 5 am on Monday.

‘I think it’s the most deadly avalanche this season,’ Contamines-Montjoie mayor Francois Barbier told AFP.

Two helicopters were sent in to help in the search, a local radio station said, quoting the local prefecture in Thonon. 

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