French Alps avalanche hits group of schoolchildren, skiers – three dead

January 14, 2016 9:30 am

An avalanche in the French Alps has hit a school group and other skiers, killing at least three people and gravely injuring others.

“Five people have been found and searches are still underway,” the head of the police unit, Commander Bernard Host, said today.
French authorities said the avalanche killed two high school students and one Ukrainian.
One of the dead was a 14-year-old member of the school group from Saint Exupery school in the eastern French city of Lyon.
The body of a Ukrainian skier was also found by rescue teams, a spokesman for regional police said.
Three of the injured were found in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.

Officials did not give any information on the number of missing but said 60 rescue workers have been mobilised in a search-and-rescue operation with sniffer dogs and a helicopter.
The avalanche, which occurred at the Deux Alpes ski resort about 50km from the Italian border, happened after a large sheet of snow broke off above a black-rated slope that had been closed following several days of heavy snowfall.
Commander Host said there had been an avalanche warning in the area before the snow slide.
French President Francois Hollande has offered his condolences to those close to the victims of the avalanche.
Hollande said in a statement that the French education minister is on his way to Lyon, the home city of the affected high school students. He is expected to arrive in the coming hours to “support the school community and the families”.

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