Wednesday 21 February 2018

Nine missing and three Britons believed dead in Mount Blanc landslide

NINE climbers are missing after an avalanche hit the Mont Blanc range of the French Alps this morning.

The massive slide of snow happened around 5am as early morning climbers made their way up Mount Maudit, which translates as "cursed peak", in the Mont Blanc range.

Three Britons are among those on the missing list and believed to have perished.

Colonel Bertrand Francois, commander of the Haute-Savoie gendarmerie, said of the missing people: "This does not mean that they are under the avalanche but we are extremely concerned for their safety."

Most of the climbers were roped together on what is considered to be one of the most dangerous ascents in Europe.

There were 28 people in the original group which set out to climb Mount Maudit, all of them from a variety of different nationalities, say police.

Two Germans, two Swiss and two Spaniards were among those killed in the avalanche and nine people injured, police said. Two Spaniards were also missing.

"There are around eight others injured and at least two people missing," said a spokesman from the Alpine PGHM (high mountain gendarme platoon), who said that the avalanche had been caused by snow collapsing in July heat.

"We were initially alerted just after dawn by one of the survivors who called us on a mobile phone."

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