At least four skiers were found dead after an avalanche struck near the Tignes resort in southeast France. The avalanche occurred in a popular place for skiers around the world.
An avalanche in southeast France killed at least four skiers in an area not prepared for skiing near the Tignes resort on Monday morning. The four dead skiers were a part of a group of nine, which included one ski guide.
The five others in the group went missing due to the avalanche. They were initially feared buried under the snow but may have split up before the avalanche, possibly missing the disaster. A rescue official from nearby Albertville said a search was underway for the missing skiers.
The avalanche occurred approximately 2,100 meters (6,900 feet) above sea level in the off piste section known as Toviere, according to the Republican Company for Alps Security. The Tignes station said the avalanche may have been caused by skiers higher up on the mountain, resulting in a "slab" avalanche, when wind-packed snow breaks off.
The risk of an avalanche in the area was considered a three on a five-point scale on Monday, meaning there was little risk of a large scale avalanche taking place. Other areas at the resort were still open.
This is the deadliest avalanche accident so far this winter in the Alps and Pyrenees. Before Monday, there were 13 recorded accidents that killed three people.
kbd/rc (AFP, AP)