Three dead in avalanche in France
The men were killed at the weekend near Grenoble. They were ski touring. Following huge snowfalls the temperature suddenly warmed up and made conditions dangerous. People are being urged across the Alps to be careful.
Wednesday December 8, 2010 - Email this article to a friend
The accident happened near Chartreuse in the French Alps.
The three Frenchmen, all married with families, were experienced off piste skiers. They were in the late forties and early fifties.
They had all the correct safety equipment and two had air bags. They had recently been on an off piste safety course too.
Other ski tourers saw the remains of an avalanche and evidence that people may have been caught in it. They called in the emergency services.
The rescue teams arrived swiftly by helicopter in windy conditions with search teams and avalanche dogs.
One man was found immediately but he died.
All were pronounced dead at the scene.
It is very dangerous off piste in many parts of the French Alps at the moment with a very unstable base.
In Val d'Isere the avalanche risk is 4 on a scale of 5 with many naturally triggered avalanches.
"It is very, very dangerous off piste at the moment as the base is so unstable and the rain is making the snow on top of it very heavy too," says Pierre de Monvallier, the director of the Oxygene ski school in the resort.
The school offer a mountain guide service for off piste skiers and snowboarders.
There are extra signs up warning people in both Tignes and Val d'Isere of the dangers.
An investigation is now under way into the fatal accident near Grenoble.
It brings the death tally from avalanche in France to six this winter.
Meanwhile an off piste skier had a lucky escape when he was caught in an avalanche near Tux in Austria.
He has suffered serious injuries to his pelvis but is alive.
The two people he was skiing with avoided the avalanche and called the rescue authorities.
If you are skiing or snowboarding off piste then do take extra precautions. The conditions are very dangerous.
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