Posted on: 2014-03-05 23:42:20 by davidof

Four skier deaths in falls in Northern Alps

Four skiers have been killed by falls in separate incidents in the French Alps over the last two days. A guide in Chamonix following a cornice collapse and a young holiday maker off piste in Val d'Isère on Wednesday, a snowboarder above Champagny and a skier at la Plagne on Thursday.

At Val d’Isere two young skiers fell over a 40 meter cliff after tackling a steep off piste in the Bellevarde sector above the “Fenêtre EDF" near the Joseray piste. They may have been knocked off their feet by a small avalanche. The incident occurred at around 11h30. One of the skiers was killed by the fall. The other was taken to hospital in Grenoble by the high mountain police (PGHM) helicopter in a serious condition. The skiers were on holiday with their family and were from the Normandy region.

In Chamonix a guide has been killed after a fall in one of the Brevent couloirs. The man was accompanied by his son and they were preparing to descend the couloir on skis when the cornice at the top of the couloir collapsed, he fell 300 meters. The victim was from the department and aged in his 50s.

In the Vercors the rescue services are looking for a 56 year old skier who disappeared on Tuesday (update: his body was found in resort on Thursday). A skier suffered a shoulder injury after being caught by an avalanche in the Hautes-alpes near the Tête des Clotinailles

There was an avalanche on the north face of the Bellecôte at 10h30 Thursday morning. A 51 year old resident of the Haute-Savoie was carried 400 meters over cliffs, apparently after triggering a snow slab. He was accompanied by two other local skiers who gave the alert. The avalanche risk was 2/5.

In the Savoie a female snowboarder died after falling over cliffs in the Cul du Nant sector above Champagny. Accompanied by another boarder they made a route finding error at the Py waterfalls at 1730 m altitude and ended up over cliff bands. They decided to remove their boards to climb back up their route when the woman slid and fell 100 meters.

In the Belledonne range a ski tourer was caught by an avalanche near the col du Mouchillon. Part of a group of three the victim was not buried but suffered injuries requiring the intervention of the rescue helicopter. The avalanche risk was 3. There were also skier triggered avalanches near the refuge d'Oule and Pertuis couloirs without any victims.

In the Pyrenees the avalanche risk was 4/5 following fresh snow and violent winds from the North to North West. At Ax Trois Domains four skiers triggered an avalanche skiing off piste above le Saquet, one of them was caught and suffered a fractures to his shoulder and femur. The rescue was complicated by the weather conditions and a ground based rescue had to be used.