Mar
6

Avalanche hits chairlift in France
Tuesday March 6, 2012 - Email this article to a friend

People were still on the lift as a large wet snow avalanche slid into the lift in St Francois-Longchamp. People ran and skied away as the avalanche approached. We have some new videos of the incident.

It pulled down pylons and destroyed the base station as it slowly slid down the hill. 

The lift attendant at the bottom saw it coming and stoped the lift when the pylons began to buckle under the weight of the snow.

70 people were on the lift and they had to be winched down or airlifted off by helicopter.

No-one was injured in the incident.

The recent warm weather had made the snow wet and heavy and the avalanche risk was 3 on a scale of 5.

The black run under the chair had been closed for several days due to the risk of avalanche but it had been deemed safe to run the lift.

It happened on Friday afternoon at 15.30.

It was 500m long and 8m high by the time it came to rest.

The resort is linked to the better-known ski area of Valmorel.

For a French news reports see the videos below.

The video below was filmed by one of the people on the lift.

Stranded skiers being rescued by helicopter.

Meanwhile we are getting reports of an avalanche in Zermatt that has come across a piste.

It happened on Sunday afternoon and the slide hit the marked run between Furgg and Furi in the Klein-Matterhorn ski area.

It was 50m wide and 2m thick. A search has been taking place but it is not thought anyone was buried.

An investigation is under way and we will bring you further news when we get it.

Zermatt Avalanche, photo c/o Cantonal PoliceZermatt Avalanche, photo c/o Cantonal Police

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In another incident a family of four, two adults and two children, were caught in an avalanche in the ski resort of Engstlenalp in the Bern canton.

They freed themselves and a search revealed no other casualties.

For the spirit of the mountains

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