An avalanche has claimed the life of a female ski tourer in the Ossau sector of the Pyrenees today. The avalanche occurred in the vallon de Gabardères just after 13h00 at 1850 meters. Three ski tourers were involved in the incident, part of a group of 6 local skiers.. This is the first avalanche fatality in France this season.
One of the ski tourers managed to free himself from the slide and alerted the rescue services. The victim was found in a state of cardio-vascular arrest, the second victim severe hypothermia. Due to the weather conditions the rescue helicopter was unable to evacuate the skiers.
A large terrestial rescue operation involved members of the gendarmerie, pghm, medics and fire services. The avalanche risk was 3/5. There has been around 80cm of fresh snow in the area since Monday accompanied by high winds from the North and West.
A couple of ski tourers were caught by an avalanche at Bonneval sur Arc in the Savoie. They were part of a group of five skiers descending from the Ouille Mota at 2600 meters altitude. Carried 400 meters by the snow they escaped without injury. An off piste skier was also caught by an avalanche in Courchevel. The avalanche risk was 3/5.