René and his friend, Fredo were skiing the glacier du Gébroulaz on the first Saturday in April. The Gébroulaz links Val Thorens with Meribel-Mottaret. The were crossing the crevassed section on the lower part of the glacier when a snow bridge broke under René and he plunged 40 meters into a crevasse.
Rescued by the CRS des Alpes after 1h30 in an operation complicated by the width of the crevasse the 52 year old Savoyard said he “was close to death”. He suffered from multiple injuries and was airlifted to hospital in Moûtiers.
Now out of hospital he admits that he and his friend made a number of errors such as skiing unroped in a crevassed area (ideally roped groups should be at least three to break the fall of any one skier) and skiing late which forced some short cuts on the route. Of course bad luck also played a role.
René paid tribute to his friend and the rescuers from the CRS des Alpes but slammed other skiers who were descending the glacier at the same time and who didn’t bother to stop to offer help. “They have no place on the mountain”, he claims.