Avalanche in the French Alps: 4 guides killed in the Armancet glacier

  • Written by Kathryn Armstrong
  • BBC News

photo caption,

Effects of an avalanche on the Armanset glacier on Sunday

The country’s interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, said at least four people had died in an avalanche in the French Alps.

It happened in the Armancet glacier near Mont Blanc in southeastern France around midday Sunday local time.

The local deputy sheriff confirmed that two of the dead were mountain guides.

Many of the injured were taken to hospital, and two people are still missing.

Jean-Luc Mattel, deputy sheriff of the nearby village of Contamines-Montjoie, said the avalanche was caused by a sheet of snow detaching from the top of the mountain.

Search and rescue teams and rescue teams worked in the mountains all day trying to reach those who had been caught, all of whom were believed to be snowboarders.

The search for the two missing persons is expected to resume on Monday.

Mattel said the level of risk on Sunday morning was “reasonable” and that the guides, both locals, were highly experienced.

“Today, we are in mourning, and there is great sadness among all of us mountaineers, friends of Les Contamines, and those who have passed away are people we knew, and all our thoughts go out to their families,” he said.

Darmanin and French President Emmanuel Macron also expressed their sympathy.

It is not clear if the video shows the avalanche in which people died.

explain video,

Watch: Snow and ice roll off the Dômes de Miage in the French Alps

An eyewitness told France TV that she was walking in front of the Armancet glacier when she saw the avalanche happening and pulled out her phone to film it.

“I had put the phone in front of me,” she said, “but then I was looking with my eyes further out through the lens, and suddenly there was a huge, huge, huge cloud that came down, broke in two.”

“I think of the families, I think of the people, of those who came out of them, of those who were in fear of their lives, of those who were still there.”

The nearby resort urged people to be careful if venturing off-piste – away from prepared ski runs.

Officials told AFP that another avalanche could not be ruled out.

Two brothers died in an avalanche on the same glacier in 2014. They were both experienced mountaineers and had been properly equipped.

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