Skiers in France warned over dangers after another deadly avalanche in Alps

Skiers in France are being warned to take the "utmost caution" especially when skiing off-piste after another deadly avalanche left at least tow dead in the French Alps on Sunday.

Skiers in France warned over dangers after another deadly avalanche in Alps

Two skiers from France and Belgium were killed in avalanches in the French Alps on Sunday while three other people remain missing, a local official said.

The deaths add to the toll in the French mountains from avalanches since Friday.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb,  on Twitter, urged all those taking part in winter sports to act “with the utmost caution.”

It is essential to follow the signs put up by local authorities “to avoid putting yourself in danger and endangering rescue teams”.

The two skiers died during simultaneous avalanches around lunchtime, while skiing off-piste from the Vallorcines resort  in the Chamonix-Mont Blanc region.

One of the skiers was dug out of the snow alive but died hours later in hospital, The second, the Belgian skier was found dead.

Another Belgian in the same group was injured.

An hour earlier, at Samoens near the Swiss border, a Swiss hiker was swept away by another avalanche. Bad weather forced searchers to abandon their efforts to find him later in the day.

The man's wife was also buried in snow but escaped with only minor injuries.

“We are pessimistic about his chances as he has already been five hours under the snow, ” an Haute-Savoie regional official told AFP at 1700 GMT

In neighbouring Savoie rescuers were looking for two missing skiers, aged 47 and 49, who were caught in an avalanche off-piste at Planay in the
Tarentaise Valley in the heart of the French Alps.

On Saturday two Spanish skiers were killed when an avalanche hit a group skiing off-piste on a mountain in southeastern France.

A day earlier four skiers were killed in the Mercantour National park in the French Alps, the deadliest avalanche of the winter so far.


Austria avalanche kills three

An avalanche in the Salzburg region killed three people and injured two while they were skiing off-piste, Austria's Red Cross said Saturday.

Snow and avalanche protection fences seen on a clear day on mountains surrounding Lech am Arlberg, western Austria
Some mountains in Austria have snow and avalanche protection fences, like these seen on a clear day on mountains surrounding Lech am Arlberg, western Austria. ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP

The accident happened Saturday about 2,400 metres (7,800 feet) up in the Lungau district, soon after 1:45 pm local time, Red Cross spokesman Anton Schilcher told the APA agency.

The snow buried eight of the group up to 4.5 metres deep, local emergency response official Christoph Wiedl told local media.

Two of the victims were already dead when their bodies were recovered, while the third died after being airlifted to hospital in Klagenfurt.

The two injured skiers were taken to hospital in the town of Tamsweg.

The skiers caught in the avalanche were from a group from the regions of Salzburg and Upper Austria.

In recent years, an average of around 20 people a year have been killed annually by avalanches in Austria.

The last two seasons were less deadly as the coronavirus pandemic reduced the number of skiers overall.

Avalanches killed four people in western Austria’s Tyrol region last February.