Two piste patrollers who were working in an off piste sector above the Sarenne run, at the foot of the Pic Blanc, were caught by an avalanche yesterday morning at 10h30. Both were wearing the usual safety gear including airbags but one of the patrollers was seriously injured after being carried over rocks.
The injured man, aged 50, was taken by helicopter to Grenoble University hospital. The avalanche risk was 4/5 (High) in the sector on Tuesday after fresh snow and strong NW winds.
Another avalanche incident involving airbags and a lucky escape happened at Serre Chevalier on Monday. A group of snowboarders triggered an avalanche between the Roc d'Enfer and the Clot Gauthier around midday. One of the group was carried over a small cliff by a small slide and triggered a secondary slide lower down. The secondary slide was 70cm deep and completely buried a snowboarder who was wearing an airbag.
Eye witnesses tried searching for the victim using avalanche beacons but got no signal. The airbag had not been inflated. A large search and rescue operation got underway involving the piste services and sniffer dogs. The girl was located as she was trapped in an air pocket and was able to shout. The victim was found under half a meter of snow after about 10 minutes. Due to the weather she was evacuated on a stretcher to Briancon hospital complaining of chest pains. The avalanche risk was 4/5 (High) on Monday following fresh snow over the weekend coupled with strong, southerly winds.