French Mountaineering Accident
Jun 29th 2011
On June 26, a British hiker discovered the bodies of six mountaineers in the French alps. The identities of the climbers, three men and three women, have not been released yet, but they are thought to be French. An investigation of the cause of the fall is underway, but the victims were found roped together in two teams of three. Their bodies have been flown to the nearby village of Villar-d'Arene for examination. They are thought to have fallen about two hundred meters into a steep ravine, near the summit of Neige Cordier, on June 25. In the initial reports the mayor of Villar-d'Arene hypothesized that the accident could have been caused by an avalanche or failing debris, but the town magistrate has subsequently suggested that after an initial investigation it seems human error may have been a possible cause as well. The magistrate, Remy Avon, told reporters that it appeared the first group had reached the top of the couloir before the accident, and may have fallen into the second party, or that both groups may have fallen at the same time.
The British hiker found the bodies at an elevation of 2700m on the Massif des Ecrins while following the same route the victims used a day earlier. One of the bodies was identified as that of a sixteen-year-old boy. The other five members of the party were thought to be between the ages of forty-two and sixty-four.