British skier killed by Puy Saint-Vincent avalanche

A family group of four skiers on a tour of the Tête de l’Oreac have been caught by an avalanche close to the ski resort of Puy Saint-Vincent in the Hautes-Alpes today. Godfrey Davis, a British national aged 45, was killed by the slide.

CRS Rescue Helicopter
CRS Rescue Helicopter from Briançon

The accident happened above Argentière at 1900 meters at 12h30. Piste patrollers from Puy Saint-Vincent were joined by members of the CRS dispatched by helicopter from Briançon and assisted by two avalanche dogs took part in the search and rescue operation. The group were with a French ski instructor. The man’s wife, 11 year old child and ski instructor were slightly hurt in the accident.

A group of 8 off-piste skiers accompanied by an instructor were involved in an avalanche in the “Gours” sector at les Deux-Alpes. The avalanche had been triggered by another skier on the slope above. The slide hit the open ski pistes. One of the group, a 56 year old man from Brittany, suffered severe internal injuries and hypothermia in the slide. The skiers at the origina of the drama fled the scene.

At the ski resort of Arêches two groups were involved in an avalanche. Eyewitnesses report seeing two skiers above three snowboarders in a couloir on the west face of the tête de Cuvy. It appears that the skiers triggered a slab that caught the whole group and carried them 400 meters down the slope to the combe du Choray. Three members of the group were able to free themselves from the slide with minor injuries, two other skiers were rescued by the piste patrol and CRS des Alpes based at Courchevel. One was suffering from leg injuries the other had a head injury and multiple contusions. Rescue workers said that the whole group were very lucky to escape with their lives.

There was an avalanche in Arêches at the weekend in the col de la Grande Combe sector involving 3 skiers none of whom were injured. Large dot-matrix signs clearly warned skiers of the dangers. A snowboarder also suffered a broken arm in an avalanche at Tignes.

There was 20 cm of fresh snow early on Sunday morning coupled with winds up to 150km/h. This has formed new accumulations and slabs and the risk of avalanche was high. Six people have been killed over the past couple of days by avalanches in the French Alps. This brings the number of deaths since the start of the season to 33.


Posted by on Tuesday, 21 February, 2006 at 07:02 PM

The body of a ski mountaineer was found early this morning at 2100 meters below the pic de Boussolenc close to the ski resort of les Orres in the Southern Alps. He was the victim of an avalanche.

Posted by davidof on  Wednesday, 22 February, 2006  at 05:20 PM

Another two people have been killed this afternoon and another is in a very critical condition in Pra Loup bringing the total to 9 avalanche deaths for the week. The group were aged 18 and 19 years old and were off piste in the vallon des Agneliers. A sector that is currently closed by a local bye-law taken by the mayor of Pra-Loup.

-- Update 17h16: see separate news item --
Pra Loup Avalanche

Posted by davidof on  Wednesday, 22 February, 2006  at 07:16 PM

This link gives photos and some details of the investigation into the Pra-Loup avalanche

The victims were found after 45 minutes using a Recco receiver.

Posted by davidof on  Wednesday, 25 April, 2007  at 08:51 PM
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