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British mum and son killed by avalanche while skiing in France

British mum and son killed by avalanche while skiing in France

A British woman and her son have been killed by an avalanche at a French ski resort

A British mother and her son have been killed by an avalanche on Mont Blanc in France.

The accident - involving a mum, 45, and her 22-year-old son - took place on Thursday afternoon (28 December) on the Argentière Glacier.

A hiker was also killed in a separate area, as another skier, reportedly an instructor, was left injured.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said it was supporting the family of two Britons who died.

An FCDO spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of two British people who died in France and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The avalanche travelled through an off-piste section of the Saint-Gervais-les-Bains ski resort on Thursday as a search -and-rescue effort was deployed.

The five-hour mission involved 20 rescuers, two dog teams, a doctor and two helicopters.

Bonneville public prosecutor’s office said the avalanche may have been caused by cross-country skiers who were uphill.

It added that a manslaughter investigation has been opened by police in Chamonix and that post-mortem examinations will take place in the coming days at the medical-legal institute in Grenoble.

Alexandre Merlin, director of the Saint Gervais led Bains ski area, told MailOnline: "The snow conditions are very unstable, it's difficult to know what will hold or not, the snow cover is not compacted and it is rather dangerous to go out.

"Overall, you shouldn't go off the slopes, we have little snow, the slopes are well maintained, but outside, there are stones, and there can be unstable areas."

Saint-Gervais Mayor Jean-Marc Peillex told BFM television: "It rained, it snowed, it was warm. There are enough marked paths to ski on.

"It's terrible what happened. A family is decimated, and we are very sad in Saint-Gervais."

JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images

A spokesperson from the Haute-Savoie regional government said: "An avalanche 400m long occurred this Thursday, December 28, 2023 at 3.30pm, in the off-piste area, at an altitude of 2,300 meters and near the Mont-Joly chairlift located in the Mont-Joly ski area. Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, involving eight people.

"A major search and rescue system was immediately deployed by the emergency services. slopes of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, reinforced and commanded by the high-level gendarmerie platoon mountain (PGHM) of Chamonix.

"The final report shows two victims dead, one lightly injured and five other people unhurt.

"Yves Le Breton, prefect of Haute-Savoie would like to send his sincere condolences to the loved ones of the victims and his thoughts to those involved in this avalanche.

"He also thanks all the personnel who made it possible to carry out the search operations."

Featured Image Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images/JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images

Topics: UK News, Travel