At least six people were killed and several others injured in an avalanche that struck the French Alps over the weekend, CNN reports.
Emergency workers were deployed after the incident at the Armancette glacier near Mont Blanc in southeast France. The avalanche occurred at the glacier on Sunday, but the conditions on the mountain were described as “not particularly alarming,” with the president of France’s mountain guide union, Dorian Labaeye, telling France Info that he did not know how such a tragedy could have happened in “good conditions.”
“At the Armancette glacier in the Alps, an avalanche has caused casualties. We are thinking of them and their families. Our rescue forces have been mobilized to find people still stuck in the snow. Our thoughts are with them too,” French President Macron tweeted on Sunday.
The local France-Bleu radio station put the size of the avalanche at 3,280 feet long and 328 feet wide, making it “the most deadly avalanche this season.”
“It is a very big avalanche on a busy route at this time of the year,” Labaeye said, adding, “We have tens of thousands of people doing ski touring at the moment in the Alps. There are usually lots of people on the Easter weekend, and conditions are usually pretty stable at this time of year.”
Local media reported that two of the victims were mountain guides, and the other four, a young man and woman in their 20s and a couple in their 40s, were their clients. The avalanche initially struck when the group of six were skiing off-piste near the village and ski resort of Les Contamines-Montjoie, southeast France, authorities spokesperson Emmanuel Coquand said.
One person was sent to the hospital with minor injuries, and eight others were found unharmed.
Labaeye said the group impacted was equipped with an avalanche detector, shovels, and probes, which he said: “facilitates the work of the rescuers.”
Details of the victims have not officially been released by authorities, and the rescue mission has now been called off, as they are not aware of any other missing individuals.