Nine killed in avalanche in France, four turn up unharmed | News | DW | 12.07.2012
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Nine killed in avalanche in France, four turn up unharmed

Nine people have been killed in an avalanche that struck a mountain range in France on Thursday. Several others were treated in local hospitals. Late on Thursday, four of the group reported to police unharmed.

At least nine climbers were killed in an avalanche that hit a mountain in the French Alps on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Haute-Savoie prefecture said the victims included three Germans, two Spaniards, one Swiss and three Britons.

Watch video 01:25

The aftermath of the Mont Blanc avalanche

They were among a group of 28 climbers caught in the avalanche, which occurred at 05:25 a.m. local time, at an altitude of around 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) on Mont Maudit, which is part of the Mont Blanc range.

Ice sheet triggers avalanche

At least nine others were being treated in hospital. Four climbers who were initially unaccounted four, reported to police late on Thursday. They had either taken a different route or decided to abandon the final ascent.

Rescue workers dispatched to the area from Chamonix initially dug out just six bodies, but managed to recover a further three later in the morning.

It appears that one of the climbers dislodged a slab of ice, which triggered a massive avalanche. There had been unusually heavy snowfall and high winds in the region.

ng, pfd/slk (AP, dpa)

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