French avalanche: Alps accident leaves 6 dead near Mont Blanc - what authorities have said

At least six people have died following an avalanche on the Armancette glacier, including two mountain guides

A nearby ski resort shared a video of the avalanche on Twitter (Photo: Twitter/@domaineskiable)A nearby ski resort shared a video of the avalanche on Twitter (Photo: Twitter/@domaineskiable)
A nearby ski resort shared a video of the avalanche on Twitter (Photo: Twitter/@domaineskiable)

In France, the death toll from an avalanches which occurred in the Alps on Sunday (9 April) has risen to six, including two mountain guides, local authorities have said. The prosecutor’s office in Bonneville, in the Haute-Savoie region, said the body of a sixth person was found after searches resumed on Monday morning.

The avalanche rolled down the Armancette glacier in Contamines-Montjoie, in the Haute-Savoie region, some 30 kilometres (almost 20 miles) south-west of Chamonix, near Mont Blanc. The Alps are a prime holiday spot over France’s long Easter weekend.

The local France-Bleu radio station estimated that the avalanche was 1,000 metres (3,280ft) long and 100 metres (328ft) wide.

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

What happened?

On Sunday (9 April), an avalanche on the Armancette glacier resulted in the death of at least six people, including two mountain guides. One person suffered slight injuries and a further eight who were swept up in the snow left unharmed.

Those caught up in the avalanche were backcountry skiing in the mountains, according to Emmanuel Coquand, spokesperson for the local authorities of Haute-Savoie. Coquand added that the identities of the victims were still to be confirmed.

Investigators have been called in to help in the search for the two who are missing.

Contamines-Montjoie, a nearby ski restort, posted a video on Twitter which showed an avalanche from the Dômes de Miage, which the Armancette glacier is a part of.

The prefecture for the Haute-Savoie department said that no avalanche warning had been issued for the area by Meteo France, the weather authority, but that the combination of warmth and wind may have been behind the avalanche.

Speaking to AFP, Contamines-Montjoie’s mayor, Francois Barbier, said: “I think it’s the most deadly avalanche this season.”

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “We’re thinking of [the victims] as well as of their families. Our emergency services have been mobilised to find those still trapped in the snow.”

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