Sunday 22 January 2017

Avalanche in French Alps kills five soldiers on training exercise

Published 18/01/2016 | 18:15

An image grab taken from a video released by Le Dauphine shows French troops near the site of an avalanche that killed five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016
An image grab taken from a video released by Le Dauphine shows French troops near the site of an avalanche that killed five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016
An image grab taken from a video released by Le Dauphine shows a helicopter hovering over the site of an avalanche that killed five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016
An image grab taken from a video released by Le Dauphine shows a helicopter hovering over the site of an avalanche that killed five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016.
An undated picture shows the site of an avalanche that killed five Five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016. Five French Foreign Legionnaires were killed in an avalanche as they were on a training exercise in the French Alps, police sources said

An avalanche in the French Alps has swept away a military unit on a training exercise, killing five soldiers and injuring several others.

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MP Julien Aubert confirmed the deaths to BFM television, saying the soldiers were training off-piste in Valfrejus in the Savoie region.

An image grab taken from a video released by Le Dauphine shows a helicopter hovering over the site of an avalanche that killed five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016
An image grab taken from a video released by Le Dauphine shows a helicopter hovering over the site of an avalanche that killed five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016

He said the group was a mixture of veterans and new soldiers.

Jean-Claude Raffin, mayor of Modane, the nearest town, said the soldiers were out for an all-day skiing session when the avalanche hit. He said six people were injured, three of them seriously.

An image grab taken from a video released by Le Dauphine shows a helicopter hovering over the site of an avalanche that killed five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016.
An image grab taken from a video released by Le Dauphine shows a helicopter hovering over the site of an avalanche that killed five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016.

The group of about 50 men were skiing at an altitude of around 2,000 metres (6,500ft).

Julien Noel, director of the ski area, said the location where the avalanche hit is well-known for skiing and normally is not known as particularly dangerous.

An undated picture shows the site of an avalanche that killed five Five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016.
Five French Foreign Legionnaires were killed in an avalanche as they were on a training exercise in the French Alps, police sources said
An undated picture shows the site of an avalanche that killed five Five French Foreign Legionnaires near the resort of Valfrejus in the French Alps on January 18, 2016. Five French Foreign Legionnaires were killed in an avalanche as they were on a training exercise in the French Alps, police sources said

He said the slopes were closed after the avalanche on Monday for safety reasons.

The incident comes just days after three people, including two students, were killed when a school group in the Alps was swept away by an avalanche.

The avalanche risk has been high in the region, where fresh snow has fallen in recent days.

Press Association

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