Monday, February 13, 2017

At least four skiers killed as avalanche hits French Alps

At least four people were killed Monday by an avalanche in the French Alps near the border with Italy, a local rescue team told EFE.

The avalanche hit the Tignes ski station in Toviere and dragged at least nine skiers who were off-piste.

According to French newspaper Le Figaro, the group hit was made up of a guide and eight skiers who were at an altitude of 2,100 meters (6,885 feet).

The Companies for Republican Security, a mobile police force, from the nearby town of Courchevel said the avalanche began in an area where snow tends to pile up and cannot be easily moved and warned that rescue efforts could be delayed.

In a statement, the Tignes station said the avalanche began at 9:35 am GMT and was caused by the skiers, who were vacationing in the area and whose nationality has not been revealed.

A station employee raised the alarm and alerted emergency services.

Rescue efforts involves several helicopters, members of the ski patrol and ski instructors who volunteered to help.

According to French media, there have been 13 avalanches in the Alps and Pyrenees so far this year, with three killed until today.

Last season there were 45 avalanches that killed a total of 21 people The avalanche risk on Monday was of three out of five.

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