Climbers missing on Mont Blanc
Six climbers are missing on a peak of Mont Blanc and search helicopters are flying over the area, rescue services said.
August is the height of the climbing season on Europe's tallest mountain, where even in the warmest months fierce snowstorms can strike quickly.
Several mountaineers have died already this summer, and local officials say they fear people are coming to Mont Blanc ill-prepared for the dangers.
The rescue service, based in the city of Chamonix, said the six disappeared early this morning as they were trying to reach the Aiguille d'Argentiere, which tops out around 12,800ft (3,900m).
Mont Blanc, in addition to its primary peak, contains some 200 summits.
The incident comes less than a month after two experienced Irish climbers lost their lives on Mont Blanc.
Colm Ennis (37) from Waterford and Peter Britton (55) from Tipperary died when they fell 200 metres on the Dent du Geant or Giant's Tooth section of Mont Blanc in France in July.
Both men died instantly in an horrific fall witnessed by other climbers on the mountain.
It is believed the men fell after one of their ropes dislodged during their ascent.
Both bodies were recovered by mountain rescue officials within a matter of hours and transported to a local hospital.
Mountain rescue officials stressed that there was no way anyone could have survived such a fall.