Italy avalanche kills British and French skiers

A distant group of rescue workers on skis can be seen in this top-down shot taken by helicopterImage copyright

Image caption

Alpine rescue teams on foot work through the deep snow near Courmayeur

British and French skiers are among three people found dead after an avalanche near the Italian resort of Courmayeur, Italian media report.

Two people each from the UK and France were reported missing on Sunday afternoon, when the risk of avalanches in the area was high.

Searchers found three bodies and are looking for the fourth skier.

In all, eight people, including a Belgian snowboarder, died in Italy as a result of weekend avalanches.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica said the alarm had been raised by friends of the two British skiers around noon when the pair failed to arrive at a meeting point. They were on the last day of their holiday, the newspaper said.

Search operations were also hampered by the continuing risk of avalanches, preventing search teams from going on foot, and search efforts had to temporarily suspended on Sunday.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was “supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing, and are in contact with the Italian search and rescue team.”

Two other avalanche victims had been found dead earlier on Sunday in the same region – the Aosta Valley.

Several Italian residents were among the eight killed at the weekend, local media report.

The national alpine rescue group has encouraged snowsport enthusiasts to check what level of avalanche warning is in effect every day, and to “carry out all activities with the greatest caution”.


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