France avalanche leaves three cross-country skiers dead.
Le Dauphine newspaper reported that the victims were cross-country skiers who got caught up in the snow slide in the Vanoise National Park at around 10am local time.
The trio, one of whom was a guide, were in the Mt Albaron area of the Haute Maurienne, not far from the Italian border, at the time.
The guide was named by Le Dauphine as Simon Paris, but his clients – a man and a woman, according to BFMTV – have yet to be identified.
The paper said they had made their way up the 3,000-metre high Col du Greffier, a U-shaped ridge between the summits of Albaron and Pic Regaud, close to the ski resort of Bonneval-sur-Arc in the Savoie department.
The recovery operation ended in the afternoon and authorities confirmed the death toll was final.
Gabriel Blanc told Le Dauphine: “It’s over. The three bodies are on the surface. We know from a reliable source that they were only three.”
The group was said to have been forced over an edge after the snow beneath them on the Vallonnet glacier gave way.
A helicopter and a doctor were mobilised from Smur but were unable to revive the group.
Weather forecasters had placed the Savoie, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes-Maritimes departments on alert due to dangers of avalanches from rising temperatures.