Two British skiers, identified as a mother and her son, were reportedly killed in an avalanche off Mont Blanc in the French Alps on Thursday, multiple sources said.
According to the BBC, the 54-year-old woman and her 22-year-old son were skiing outside the marked resort boundary when the avalanche occurred at around 3:30pm local time. Another skier was also injured in the avalanche, according to the Associated Press.
According to the BBC, the mother and child were part of a group of five people climbing the mountain with a guide. Only the guide was wearing a locating device in case of an avalanche.
Britain’s Foreign Office told The Associated Press: “We are supporting the families of the two British nationals who died in France and are liaising with local authorities.”
The avalanche started at an altitude of about 2,300 meters (7,546 feet) near the Saint-Gervais resort and then descended about 400 meters (1,213 feet) down the mountainside, the report said.
Carline Buisset, the prosecutor for France’s Haute-Savoie region, told the BBC that about 20 first responders and two helicopters were called to the scene, and after about five hours of searching, they were finally found in the snow. He said he had found two people “buried” in the area. Passed away. ”
The Haute-Savoie regional government, which covers the area, said in a statement to The Associated Press that five other people were also safely rescued from the avalanche.
According to the BBC, the avalanche may have been caused by other skiers who were at high altitude at the time. The administration of the Haute-Savoie region told the AP that it had launched an investigation into the cause of the avalanche.
Jean-Marc Peyrex, the mayor of Saint-Gervais, told BFM television that the weather conditions that day were not favorable for going outside, especially on designated ski trails, according to the Associated Press.
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“It rained, it snowed, it was warm. There are well-marked trails to ski,” Payrex said. “What happened is terrible. A family has been destroyed and we are in Saint-Gervais and we are very sad.”
Earlier this month, a New Hampshire skier suffered a fatal leg injury when he triggered an avalanche while skiing in an area called Airplane Gully on Mount Washington.