British woman dies in French Alps avalanche

Victim, believed to be 45, was flown from Mont Blanc but efforts to resuscitate her failed

Mont Blanc as seen from Le Brevent, in Chamonix, France. Reuters
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A British woman trekking in the French Alps has died in an avalanche, local authorities said.

Mountain rescuers moved her from Mont Blanc’s Argentiere Glacier with a helicopter but they were unable to save her life.

The team was called to the glacier at about 5pm local time on Saturday, said Col Bertrand Host, of the mountain rescue gendarmerie in Chamonix.

“When we arrived we had to rescue this person but she was in a bad situation and we evacuated her from the valley," Col Host said.

The coroner of Chamonix has opened an inquiry into the death of the woman, who is reported to be 45.

Col Host said deaths on Mont Blanc were common, with about 80 people losing their lives each year.

Giant Pass on Mont Blanc, on the French-Italian border. AFP

“We are providing assistance to the family of a British woman who died in France," a Foreign Office representative said.

The Alps attract thousands of skiers during the winter months but some resorts have been left without snow this year because of unseasonably high temperatures across Europe in January.

Melting snow is believed to help cause avalanches and climate change is shrinking glaciers at a record rate while destabilising the mountains’ rock because of melting permafrost.

Over the new year, parts of Switzerland were reported to have had a record 20ºC, with many other European countries setting records in a winter heatwave.

Updated: January 15, 2023, 9:36 PM
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