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Skiers perish in avalanches in Swiss and French Alps

A group of French skiers were hit by the avalanche that struck the Tabor area a day after four Italian skiers were killed.

A cross-country skier was killed and two others injured by an avalanche in the French Alps after the deaths of four Italian skiers in Switzerland.

The groups of French skiers were consumed by the avalanche which struck the Tabor area, about 25 miles south of Grenoble. One man was killed, two others were injured, one seriously. A woman skiing with them was unhurt. The man who died, was swept away by the avalanche and remained buried for about an hour until rescue workers could find him with his avalanche beacon. This accident accounts for France’s 28th avalanche death this winter.

Two helicopters were on site and rescuers were dropped just above the area hit by the avalanche. The rescue operation was hindered by dense fog that made it difficult for the helicopters to search. The two injured skiers were airlifted to hospital in Grenoble, suffering from fractured limbs and hypothermia.

The four Italian skiers in the Swiss Alps avalanche, two women and a man were killed and another man died in hospital overnight after being pulled out of approximately 8 feet of snow in a major rescue operation involving approximately 30 emergency workers and several helicopters. The avalanche hit the Grand Saint-Bernard Pass near the Italian border at 7,546 feet.

Skiers and snowboarders should take extra care in the Alps, as avalanche deaths in Europe reach the highest for five years. It is speculated that the icy base caused by the poor start to the season means the snowpack is very unstable. Those heading to the Alps are cautioned to think carefully before venturing off and to be sure to get expert advice and heed warning signs.

Photo by Dan Zelazo

 

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