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Mountaineering & Expeditions

Tragedy In The Alps | Two Children Among The Dead In French Avalanche

Three more critically injured in Les Deux Aples incident

A video posted by Daniel Stanford (@daniel__stanford) on

Two French school children and a Ukranian have been killed in an avalanche that occurred yesterday in the Les Deux Alpes resort in France.

A further two children and their teacher were also seriously injured in the incident. When found by rescuers, the children were reported to be in cardiac arrest, and the teacher was unconscious.

Because of the tireless work of rescuers and the authorities, all members of the group have now been accounted for.

Reports suggest that, when the avalanche struck, the group, as well as the Ukranian, were skiing on a black run called The Bellecombe that had been closed by the mountain safety team, due to the increased avalanche danger present in the area.

The region saw heavy snowfall earlier this week, following a long period where very little had fallen. When a high quantity of fresh snow creates a layer on top of an older, more compact layer, it makes the snowpack very unstable. This instability leads to a significantly increased risk of avalanche.

Avalanche danger increases when a layer of new snow falls on top of a layer of old, compact snow – Illustration: iStock / Mpora

Four helicopters and more than 60 rescuers, some with dogs, were dispatched to the area to recover the victims of the avalanche.

The French President Francois Hollande gave the families of the victims his “sincere condolences” along with the “the solidarity of the whole nation”. Sentiments everybody here at Mpora echo entirely.

It’s imperative that whenever you go skiing, snowboarding, or enjoying the mountains in any other way, you are aware of the danger of avalanches. You can learn the basics with our Avalanche Safety Guide, and our tree well safety guide.

However, practical experience is always the best way of ensuring you’re well equipped should the worse happen. There are plenty of avalanche safety talks available all over the country, including the excellent ones offered by Henry’s Avalanche Talks.

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