Snowshoer missing, 2 others killed by avalanches

A 27 year old woman who was snowshoeing with a friend has been hit by a large avalanche in the Oisans mountains. The accident occurred at 13h00 above the village of Confolens to the south of ski resort of les Deux Alpes on a variant of the GR54 hiking trail.

The accident occured at 1800 meters while the couple were having lunch in a wooded area. They were hit by an enormous slide that had occured somewhere on the slopes above.

A team of rescue workers including members of the GRIMP (special units of the fire brigade), and mountain police (PHGM, CRS des Alpes) spent the afternoon searching the 1000 meters of
avalanche debris which traverses some rock bands. The area is said to be at risk of further slides. Rescuers believe that the victim, local born Emmanuelle Pichand and currently working as a teacher in the department, is buried under 8 meters of snow. Her friend was able to avoid the slide by grabbing a tree. The avalanche risk for the area was given as High decreasing to Considerable over the course of the day.

At the ski resort Isola 2000 close to Nice a 43 year old man from Saint-Laurent du Var in the same department was killed from the injuries sustained during a slide which carried him into trees. The accident happened off-piste under the new Mercantour gondola lift. There was a fatal avalanche in the resort earlier in the month and a piste patroller was seriously injured on Saturday at nearby Auron. A local youth, aged 16, was also killed by an avalanche in Pra-Loup a friend who was skiing with him managed to escape the slide unhurt. The avalanche risk was High (4/5) in both Isola and Pra-Loup after fresh snowfall on Sunday. A number of other avalanches triggered by skiers have been reported across the region notably Vars and Serre-Chevalier without any serious injury.


Posted by on Monday, 20 February, 2006 at 09:17 PM

The body of the missing snowshoer has been found today. Her family had searched the avalanche debris every week since she disappeared and they noticed some indication of her whereabouts and alerted the Gendarmerie.

Posted by davidof on  Wednesday, 10 May, 2006  at 09:43 PM
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