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British mother and son killed in French avalanche


A mountain rescue police officer takes part in a search and rescue exercise for avalanche victims in the French Alps

A British woman and her 22-year-old son were killed in an avalanche while skiing in France.

The mother, 54, and her son, who have not been named, were backcountry skiing near the Swiss border when they were buried by an avalanche around 3:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. GMT) on Thursday.

The deceased were part of a group of five people from the same family with a guide they had known for years.

Local media say they were not wearing devices used to locate survivors.

The avalanche started near the Saint-Gervais resort at an altitude of about 2,300 meters (7,546 feet) and traveled about 400 meters, local authorities said. It could have been triggered by another group of skiers at a higher altitude, they added.

The two victims were found after approximately five hours of searching by around twenty rescuers and two helicopters, Bonneville prosecutor Karline Bouisset said in a press release.

They were found “buried and deceased,” added Ms. Bouisset.

The guide who accompanied the family apparently wore an avalanche beacon, but none of the family members did. The devices are used to locate buried avalanche survivors.

Furthermore, in Isère, a 31-year-old man was killed after a fall of around 500 meters in the Écrins massif.

Around 110 people are caught in avalanches each year in France, resulting in around thirty deaths.

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