Four snowboarders, aged between 20 and 23 have been missing since Monday in the Beaufortin mountains above Aime la Plagne in the Savoie.
They had set out on snow shoes Monday to climb Mont Rosset (2,449 meters) and then descend on snowboards. The group comprised two locals, one of them experienced, a man from Montpellier (a town already hit by tragedy on the 12/12/2002) and another from Montluçon.
A massive search was launched at first light on Tuesday. The rescue workers were assisted by soldiers from Bourg-Saint-Maurice At first it was thought that the group had spent the night in a refuge or chalet, but an exhaustive search has ruled this out. Around 2 meters of snow has fallen over the last week and rescue workers thought it would be difficult to build a snow cave in the powder. The avalanche risk has been at maximum over the last couple of days.
Locals described the route chosen by the young men as “not that prone to avalanches on the side they climbed, but dangerous on the other face”. There was no problem with mobile phone reception.
Despite bad weather some helicopter flights have been possible but no trace of the missing boarders has been found, apart from their car, found in the parking by the cross country ski tracks at 1,300 above Aime, where they left it on Monday. At least two of the young men were thought to be carrying avalanche transceivers but a specially equipped helicopter did not pick-up a signal.
The boarders were last seen by a walker at 11h20 on Monday heading for the Chambrier and Chezeries sector. Two avalanches have been spotted in these zones.