Avalanche kills two in the French Alps near Les 2 Alpes
From: AP – The Sun Herald and Le Dauphine –
French officials say two have died after an avalanche in the Alps near the Deux-Alpes ski resort.
The police unit in charge of setting up the rescue operation and authorities in the Isere region said the avalanche struck late Tuesday morning.
The avalanche struck in on off-piste sector near the small town of Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans.
Update from Le Dauphine:
14 H 05 : The accident occurred outside the landscaped area of Les Deux-Alpes, on an area on the Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans side of La Toura, downstream and south of the Grand Creux breach. (2804 m). Côté Deux-Alpes (on the northern slope), several lifts lead to this sector of off-piste skiing: the chairlifts of Toura and Lac Noir.
Many rescuers are currently working alongside Civil Safety and FAS helicopters. A dog team from the CRS Alpes, two from the resort of Les Deux Alpes and a dog team from Huez are on site. A dozen police officers from the CRS Alpes, trackers and station staff are involved in the research.
Meteo France, in its bulletin snow and avalanche, reports for Tuesday of a risk 3 (scored) on a scale of 5.
SLF’s Swiss Long-Term Statistics of Avalanche Victims. The SLF, (Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research) has been collecting data on all the avalanche accidents that happened in Switzerland since the winter 1936/37. This is an overview of their statistics:
Avalanche victims since 1936
The annual average number of fatalities over the entire period is 25 (Fig. 1).
Spatial distribution of fatal accidents during the last twenty years
More than 90% of the fatal avalanche accidents during the last twenty years occurred in uncontrolled terrain, like for example during off-piste skiing and snowboarding or during backcountry touring on ski or snowshoes. As can be seen in Figure 2, a particularly large number of accidents occurred in the cantons of Valais and Grisons.
But what is the reason of this clustering?
Is the clustering of accidents a consequence of a high touring frequency in these regions, or are there other reasons for a higher avalanche accident risk in these regions?
Three German Skiers got killed in an avalanche near the Austrian resort of Lech, the fourth skier is missing. The group was ski touring at the time.
The dead men were from the Upper Swabia area of southwestern Germany. They were found around 11 PM local time after one of their wives alerted that they were missing. They were aged 57, 36 and 32. The fourth missing person, also from southern Germany was 28.
The search for this fourth person has halted due to heavy avalanche risk.
Police in the Vorarlberg province has said they have located the people through mobile phone tracking near the Lanzeg Zug slope – one of the steepest in the world.
As per the Associated Press, weather-related deaths in parts of Europe this month account to at least 24.
Austria has been hit by large snowfalls this past week, and the avalanche warning levels have gone up while local roads have been cut. The warning level above 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) was on Saturday on a scale of 3 of 5. The slope has been closed due to avalanche danger.
Due to dangerous conditions, avalanches claimed two lives in Switzerland plus the Weekly Report from the Institute of Snow and Avalanche
News from Swissinfo.ch
Two men, one of 56 years old and one of 31 have died in hospital after being buried in separate avalanches this week. Authorities have placed several areas in high avalanche risk after adverse weather conditions of late.
A skier was trapped by a slab of falling snow in the popular Flumserberg ski area in eastern Switzerland on Thursday 3rd January afternoon. A companion alerted the authorities, sparking a search by police, the fire brigade, alpine rescuers aided by dogs and helicopters.
The man was found and transported to hospital. But it was announced on Friday that he never recovered from his injuries.
On a second episode, also on Thursday 3rd, a snowboarded was carried away by an avalanche in Davos, in the Graübunden canton in southeast Switzerland. He was dug out by his companions but died from his injuries on Friday.
A second avalanche in the same region on Thursday left another snowboarder with a broken thigh.
Both regions sit in an area stretching from central to southeast Switzerland that is rated as being at the greatest danger of avalanches.
Storms that brought heavy snow and rainfall just before Christmas led the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research to raise avalanche warnings significantly over large swathes of Switzerland.
This past Sunday, three Spanish skiers have died, overtaken by an avalanche and two others where found alive in Fiescheralp, communicated the Swiss Police. This winter and spring were one of the most mortal ones due to avalanches.
As per the press release from the Police Office of the Valais canton, of a group of five skiers, three people have died and other two have been found alive. “The first investigations point to the victims being from Spanish origin. The formal identification of the deceased is being taking place”, says the release.
The five people were part of a group that on Saturday started a ski touring trip in direction of the Fiescheralp station, in the Valais canton, near the Aletsch glacier. When they were at 2,450 meters of altitude, around 16.45 hours (14.45 GMT), an avalanche trapped the five skiers.
In one report from Swissinfo.ch – a 40-year old hiker and a 57-year-old cross-country skier lost their lives in two separate avalanches in the Swiss Alps in recent days.
The hiker was a in a group of four that were swept away by an avalanche on Saturday near a steep gorge at 3,600m above the village of Arolla, which is popular starting point for hiking and ski tours. Rescue services managed to reach them and they were transported to hospitals in Martigny and Sion. However, the 40-year old woman from Valais died on Saturday night in the hospital. The other three hikers are recovering but are not in danger of losing their lives.
While five people died in Ariège, Savoie and the Hautes-Alpes on Sunday, the risk of avalanches remains important, said Monday an association of Haute-Savoie, specializing in prevention and relief in the mountains.
Océane Vibert, director of the association La Chamoniarde, dedicated to the prevention and rescue in mountains at Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, in Haute-Savoie, warns Monday, February 19 to franceinfo that skiers should take care as the risk of avalanches ” persists ” while five people were killed in the mountains Sunday, February 18 in Ariège, Savoie, and the Hautes-Alpes.
Swissinfo.ch has reported about three different avalanches deaths in the Swiss Alps during the Christmas period:
“A man who was skiing close to the 2,844-metre Hofathorn, in canton Valais, died after being carried away by an avalanche on Monday morning.
The 39-year-old from the Valais region was quickly found and recovered by his friends but was confirmed dead at the scene by emergency services.
Police in Graubünden, in eastern Switzerland, said a tourist who went missing on Saturday had also been found dead.
The 31-year-old Frenchman had tried to climb the Glattwang mountain alone on Saturday afternoon after skiing with his girlfriend.
When he did not return, a search was launched and the man’s body was found in a ravine on Sunday morning. Police said he had triggered an avalanche on his descent which carried him more than a kilometre over rocky terrain.
Snow drift death
Separately, one of three walkers buried by a snow drift in Valais on Saturday had died, reported Swiss public radio, SRF, quoting the police.
The group was hiking at 2,700 metres in the St Luc region when the accident happened. One of them managed to get free and make an emergency call which allowed the others to be rescued.
All three were flown to hospital, where one, a 29-year-old woman from canton Vaud, died of her injuries on Sunday evening, SRF said.”
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