Missing Snowshoers Found Under Avalanche

The bodies of two snowshoers, missing since the 22nd of February after setting out from the car-park in Pralognan-la-Vanoise in the Savoie, have been found under a snowslide.

Despite an extensive search at the time the fate of the two victims, a man and woman in their fifties remained a mystery although an avalanche looked probable.  The melting snow in the exceptionally hot weather lead to the discovery of a snowshoe by a mountain guide.  A search by police discovered animal tracks leading to a snow-hole where the remains of the woman were found.  Her companion was found later buried under 3 meters of snow.

The couple had set of in an avalanche risk of 3 [considerable] after a day of strong winds and fresh snow.  The man, a member of the Club Alpin Français was said to be an experienced backcountry traveller.  It appears the couple had removed their snowshoes at around 2100 m altitude in the Doron de Val-Premont valley in order to cross a steep slope when they triggered a slab avalanche.

French Avalanche Statistics maintained by PisteHors.com

Posted by davidof on Thursday, 18 March, 2004 at 08:24 AM

A source has told us that the victims may not have been equipped with an avalanche transceivers. Although this woud probably not have altered the outcome it may have been possible for a specially equipped search helicopter to have detected a transceiver when the pair initially went missing.

Posted by davidof on  Sunday, 04 April, 2004  at 10:57 PM
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