(Paris) Four people were killed on Sunday in an avalanche on a glacier in the French Alps, in the Mont-Blanc massif, one of the deadliest results in recent years in France.
The event, which occurred “at 11:27 am” on the Armancette glacier, on the heights of Contamines-Montjoie (Haute-Savoie), claimed 13 victims: four lost their lives, one was slightly injured , the other eight are unscathed, according to a new report from the prefecture of Haute-Savoie.
Their identity had not been specified in the middle of the afternoon.
The victims were hiking and at this stage the prefecture does not know if they were part of the same rope or several.
This glacier was “relatively popular at that time with experienced hikers, who climbed on foot to its summit, at 3600 m, before descending it on ski touring, at 1100 m, to the village of Les Contamines. In summer, it is a hiking area in the high mountains, ”explained to AFP the mayor of Contamines-Montjoie, François Barbier.
“The refuges giving access to the glacier were full, the conditions were good yesterday,” he noted, lamenting “the deadliest avalanche of the season”.
In November 2022, two people died in the French Alps in Champagny-en-Vanoise (Savoie), the highest toll of the season in the country, according to Anena, the French association for the study of avalanches.
No avalanche warning had been issued by Météo-France, said the prefecture, but the heat and the wind could have caused this avalanche with a “difference of 1600 m” and “a width of 500 m”.
On its Twitter account, the Contamines-Montjoie ski area posted a video showing “a big flow” and calling for “caution off-piste”. She clarified that this avalanche did not take place on the ski area. The hike via the Armancette glacier does not correspond to off-piste skiing since it is in the high mountains and not on the ski area.
The search quickly mobilized about twenty people, gendarmes, firefighters, doctors, and other help was on the way in the afternoon. Two helicopters were also mobilized, as well as specialized dogs.
Research is continuing in the area, where an avalanche phenomenon cannot be ruled out, again according to the prefecture.
On this same glacier, two brothers, experienced mountaineers in their twenties, were carried away on December 25, 2014.
According to the mayor, a larger avalanche had occurred at the same location in December 2021, “descending to the village”, but had no casualties.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his “thoughts” to the “victims”.
“To find people still stuck in the snow, our rescue forces are mobilized. Our thoughts are with them, too,” he added.