Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Iraq: Kurdish forces fight to protect Yazidis

Read more

DEBATE

Libya unrest: National Assembly asks for UN help to dissolve militias

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • Ex-PM Juppé announces bid for 2017 French presidential race

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Video: Dozens arrested despite smaller protests in Ferguson

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Deadly airstrikes hit Gaza as ceasefire with Israel collapses

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    Read more

France

Avalanche kills mountain climbers in the French Alps

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-07-12

At least nine people were killed and four reported missing on Thursday in an avalanche in the French Alps that local authorities called "the most deadly of recent years."

AFP - An avalanche swept over a group of foreign climbers in the French Alps on Thursday, killing at least nine people in the deadliest such disaster in the region in a decade.

Most of the dead found after the early morning avalanche on Mont Maudit, which translates as "Cursed Mountain", were Europeans, officials said.

Among the dead were at least one Swiss, a German and two Spaniards, local prefect Philippe de Rumigny told AFP. Officials had earlier reported two Swiss and two Germans dead.

The bodies of three more victims, believed to be those of British climbers earlier reported missing, were also found during rescue efforts, according to preliminary information.

Four more climbers - believed to be two Britons and two Spaniards - were still missing, officials said.

Efforts were continuing to track down the missing climbers on the mountain in the Mont Blanc massif at a height of more than 4,000 metres (13,100 feet), with Italian rescuers brought in to assist France's PGHM high-mountain group.

Nine more climbers were lightly injured and treated at a local hospital.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said he was heading to the scene to oversee operations.

"Searches are still underway to find the missing," he said in a statement. "The interior minister wants to assure the families of his deep sympathy and full support."

One of the injured sounded the alert at around 0325 GMT after the avalanche on Mont Maudit, the massif's third-highest peak, rising to an altitude of 4,465 metres (14,650 feet), and considered one of the more difficult paths to climbing Mont Blanc.

Rumigny said it was believed that a "40-centimetre (16-inch) sheet came loose" from the mountainside, prompting the avalanche.

Francois said it was believed a climber had caused the sheet of snow and ice to break off.

Weather service Meteo France told AFP there were strong winds in the area on Thursday, reaching up 70 kilometres (43 miles) per hour.

It is the deadliest climbing disaster in at least a decade in France.

In August 2008, eight climbers -- four Germans, three Swiss and an Austrian guide -- were swept away after blocks of ice broke off Mont Blanc du Tacul, prompting an avalanche.

Thousands of tourists flock to the French Alps every year for sports including mountain climbing and skiing, but every year some fall victim to accidents.

A Norwegian cross-country skier died in April after being caught up in an avalanche on Mont Blanc, only about a month after a Canadian skier died after plunging into a 20-metre (65-foot) crevice on the mountain.

Rescue workers are often called in to assist stranded climbers or skiers.

Date created : 2012-07-12

  • FRANCE

    Bodies of six climbers found in Alps near Grenoble

    Read more

COMMENT(S)