German hiker found dead near Blanc glacier in French Alps | News | DW | 28.05.2019
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German hiker found dead near Blanc glacier in French Alps

The 63-year-old tourist had set off for an early morning hike toward a glacier in the Alps in southern France. Search teams went to look for him when he failed to return.

A German man was found dead on Monday afternoon on the Blanc glacier in the Ecrins Massif National Park in southern France.

He had started his trek on snowshoes in the morning toward the Blanc glacier, which is at an altitude of between 2,900 and 3,920 meters (9,510 and 12,860 feet). His wife was waiting for him at the entrance to the park and when he did not return, she raised the alarm at 5 p.m. local time.

The man's body was found an hour later between the glacier and Cezanne mountain refuges in the Vallouise-Pelvoux area. The cause of his death is not yet clear, according to the Briancon police who are in charge of the investigation. "The victim was alone on the mountain and, for now, we are investigating the cause of death."

A mild winter

Up to the end of March and the end of the winter ski season, there had been 48 avalanches in the French Alps, which led to eight deaths, seven of them occurring when people had moved away from marked ski trails. In the previous winterthere were  34 deaths, with a record 17 of them in March 2018.

In the 2018-2019 season, less snow fell below 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) altitude in what Meteo-France described as "among the 10 mildest winters since the start of the 20th century."

There was heavy snowfall at the end of January, in the only two notable storms of the winter. The fallen snow remained largely stable until the spring.

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