It was certainly more shocking than I’m used to on French TV.
Regarding the comments by the rescue workers, I’m not sure it is possible to totally switch off. Jean Jacques Mollaret, former head of the PGHM (you see their base is named after him) had to leave in the end, mentally exhausted by the work. He described the daily routine of the Chamonix PGHM thus:-
6 April 00h30
I jump out of bed, the phone is ringing. At this hour there is no question, an accident. Two children missing in the Diosaz gorges area at Servoz. There is a general alert for all the guides and police. Gear is rapidly collected.
Barry, the tracker dog, sniffs a pair of pyjamas of one of the kids and still manages to find a trail over the ground that has already been disturbed by an earlier search by the locals. On difficult and wet terrain he loses the scent. The search continues but in vain. Calls go unanswered.
We fear the children have fallen into the Diosaz gorges but hope they have found a barn to spend the night. At first light the PGHM helicopter takes to the skies for a reconnaissance. An anxious wait by the radio “Cordial, Whisky 6 here, go ahead”. Tracks have been spotted; they lead to a couloir that plunges into the Fieugerand torrent. The two children, lost in the night, wanting only to reach the warmth and light of the valley they could see below. A slide 300 meters over cliffs. The end.
The helicopter drops us 500 meters from the bodies. We sink into the deep snow to our waists. Sad morning, another defeat! Worn out and despairing we drag the sinister body bags that leave a trail of red behind us in the snow.
The peasants are silent around the helicopter; the bodies are taken home. Mission over but the absurd drama will stay forever in the memory of men and the secrets of the mountain.