Three dead following avalanche in French Alps

All other students from a school group had been accounted for and were safe, authorities say

french, alps, schoolchildren, avalanche,

A view of the French Alps | Image: David Cheskin / PA Archive/PA Images

Three people have died and several others have been badly injured after an avalanche hit a group of school pupils skiing in the French Alps.

Two of the deceased were teenagers, including a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old, while the body of a Ukrainian skier was also found by rescue teams.

Among the injured, two pupils were said to have suffered cardiac arrest while another was described as seriously hurt.

The avalanche struck a group of around 19 secondary school pupils and their teacher, who was found unconscious.

The casualties have been taken to hospital in Grenoble.

All other students from the group had been accounted for and were safe, the interior ministry said.

Rescue teams were searching for other skiers who might have been buried in the snow.

The disaster happened on a closed ski run around 4pm local time (3pm Irish time) in the Les Deux Alpes resort.

Commander Bertrand Host told BFM television there had been an avalanche warning in the area before the tragedy.

The level of risk had been put at three out of a maximum five after several centimetres of snow fell on Wednesday afternoon and made conditions unstable.

Around 60 people were taking part in the search, including 30 mountain rescuers.

 

AVALANCHE en direct!!!Plusieurs personnes ensevelies󾍁󾍁󾰯Chaud

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Two police helicopters and an emergency rescue helicopter are also on the scene along with search dogs.

One rescue worker reportedly said there was a very thick layer of snow after the avalanche, making it even more difficult to find the missing.

Conditions for skiing and hiking have been difficult because of heavy snowfall in recent days.

The group of pupils and their teacher was from the St Exupery college in Lyon and was on a week's holiday in the area.

Since the start of January, four people had lost their lives in avalanches in the French Alps.

They included two Lithuanian mountaineers, as well as a Spanish and Czech skier.

One rescue worker reportedly said there was a very thick layer of snow after the avalanche, making it even more difficult to find the missing.