British woman, 45, dies after getting caught in avalanche as she was hiking with two others on Mont Blanc
- A British woman, 45, died after getting caught in avalanche on the Mont Blanc
- She had been hiking with two others, both unharmed, on the Argentière Glacier
- She was found buried under the snow and an investigation has been ordered
A British woman has died after getting caught in an avalanche as she was hiking with two other people on the Mont Blanc, rescue services said on Sunday.
The accident happened on Saturday afternoon on the Argentière Glacier, one of the Mont Blanc mountain range’s biggest glaciers.
The 45-year old was found buried under the snow, and rescue services arrived too late to save her.
She was hiking with her partner and a guide in the Mont Blanc massif in the Chamonix valley.
A British woman has died after getting caught in an avalanche as she was hiking with two other people on the Mont Blanc, rescue services said on Sunday
The accident happened on Saturday afternoon on the Argentière Glacier, one of the Mont Blanc mountain range’s biggest glaciers (File photo of the Argentière Glacier)
Police have ordered an investigation of the accident and an autopsy.
The two other hikers were unharmed, authorities said.
A second avalanche was triggered today (Sunday) in a neighbouring ski area and a search was underway to find possible victims.
The valley is on heightened alert after fresh snowfall. The trio involved in Saturday’s accident was hiking on the Argentiere glacier when tragedy struck at around 5.30pm.
The avalanche was triggered and the woman was buried under a slab of snow.
Despite intervention from the emergency services, ‘the person unfortunately died’ according to the mountain police.
An investigation is underway and an autopsy has been requested by the judicial authorities.
Meanwhile, the second avalanche was triggered in the Brevent ski area, also in the Chamonix valley, at lunchtime on Sunday.
Witnesses said an avalanche hit a ski run.
The mountain was closed and rescuers were combing the area to search for possible victims. Ski instructors in the valley were called to help with the operation.
The 45-year old was found buried under the snow, and rescue services arrived too late to save her (file photo of the Argentière glacier)
One eye witness said: ‘There was a woman caught up to her hips in the slide. A search was started by skiers and snowboarders. Then the experts took over.’
Fresh snowfall during the past week and a further prediction of more than 70cm of snow at 2000 metres on Sunday and Monday has put Chamonix on alert.
On Sunday, the avalanche risk was deemed three out of five, meaning ‘considerable’.
Avalanche Academy, an avalanche training school in Chamonix, urged snow enthusiasts to take precautions: ‘There’s a huge amount of snow coming to Chamonix this week, which means the avalanche hazard is going to increase dramatically.’
The Mont Blanc, western Europe’s highest mountain at 4,800 metres (nearly 16,000 feet), attracts 20,000 hikers and skiers every year.
The Mont Blanc’s popularity poses a growing security and environmental challenge, local officials have warned.
Warmer temperatures in recent years have melted permafrost, raising the risk of rock falls on the most popular routes.
In August, authorities closed down two popular mountain shelters used by Mont Blanc climbers because of potentially deadly drought-related rockfalls.
Melting snow is also believed to help trigger avalanches.