6 killed in avalanche in French Alps

(CNN) — At least six people were killed and several injured in an avalanche that rocked the French Alps over the weekend.

Interior Minister Gérald Dormanin tweeted on Sunday that emergency teams had been dispatched following the incident on the Armanchet glacier near Mont Blanc in southeastern France. Rescue work continues.

Clouds of snow fell on the mountainside, according to video shared by Reuters and tweeted by the nearby ski resort of Contamines-Montjoie.

The scene after a deadly avalanche on the Armanset glacier in the shadow of Mont Blanc on Sunday. (Credit: jpclement38/Twitter/Reuters)

There was an avalanche on the glacier this Sunday. Conditions on the mountain were described as “not of great concern”, with Dorian Labaye, president of the French Mountain Guides Association, telling France Info that he did not know how such a tragedy could have occurred in “good conditions”.

According to a spokesman for the local Haute-Savoie authorities, the avalanche spread between 1 kilometer and 500 meters, at an altitude of 3,500 meters (11,480 feet).

The people who were swept away by the avalanche were practicing cross-country skiing and work is underway to confirm the identities of the victims.

The mayor of the town of Contamines-Montjoie, Francois Barbier, told Agence France-Presse that it was “the most dangerous avalanche of the season”.

“It’s a very big avalanche on a very busy route for this time of year,” Labaeye added: “We have tens of thousands of people ski touring in the Alps right now. There’s usually a lot of people at the end. It’s Easter week and conditions are usually pretty stable at this time of year.

Labeye said he did not believe there were any more victims. He assured that the affected team was equipped with avalanche detectors, shovels and probes, which he said would “make the work of rescuers easier”.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered his condolences to the victims and their loved ones.

“On the Armancette glacier, in the Alps, victims of an avalanche. We think of them and their families. Our rescue forces are concentrated to find those still trapped in the snow. Our thoughts are with them,” Macron tweeted. This Sunday.

CNN’s Joseph Ataman contributed to this report.

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Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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