Fifteen students, their teacher, an aspiring guide, and a guide were skiing on a school field trip in the Vercors area of France when they triggered an avalanche that carried 3 of them away down the Roc Cornafion (2,049m or 2,722ft) above the town of Villard-de-Lans at about 12:30pm today.
The 3 people caught in the avalanche – two students and a guide – were all fully buried. Their ski partners were able to successfully recover two of the buried skiers within 20 minutes but not a 17-year-old student.
Everyone in the group was wearing avalanche beacons but the boy who passed away’s beacon wasn’t working correctly and they were unable to detect him.
Two hours after being buried the boy was recovered using an avalanche dog. He died in route to the hospital.
The avalanche danger in the area was rated as 3 out of 5 (considerable) below 7,000′ and 4 out of 5 above (high) 7,000′. The group triggered the avalanche just below 7,000′.
The police are investigating the avalanche beacon of the deceased victim to see if it was transmitting correctly or not.
This was the 18th avalanche death in France this year and the 40th in the Alps this year.
Experts are reporting that these avalanche are happing so frequently in the Alps due to new snow that fell on an icy layer and there not being enough bonding between the two.