Savoie: seven dead in two avalanches

Seven people died in two avalanches in Savoie this Saturday, May 8, according to the prefecture.

The first fatal flow was triggered at the end of the morning in the town of Valloire in the sector of the Col du Galibier located at 2,642 meters above sea level. Four people, aged 42 to 76 and from the surroundings of Grenoble, lost their lives. Two groups of hikers, made up of three and two people, were swept away and only one of them survived, found in good health by the emergency services. Six soldiers from the High Mountain Gendarmerie Platoon (PGHM), two helicopters and two avalanche dogs had been hired to search for the victims.

The second avalanche occurred around 2 p.m. in the Mont Pourri sector, which rises to 3,779 meters in the Vanoise massif, on the other side of the department. Three people died, according to the prefecture.

A “particularly high” risk

The authorities had warned Friday of a risk of avalanches “Particularly high” this weekend, as temperatures have softened after heavy snowfall on the massifs in recent days. “With weather like today’s, it’s tempting to go out in the mountains but it’s also extremely tricky”, underlined the mayor of Valloire Jean-Pierre Rougeaux, reached by phone.

Five people had already lost their lives Monday in two avalanches in Isère and in the Hautes-Alpes, bringing the toll to 12 dead in a week in the Alps.

Since the start of the 2020/2021 season, before the avalanches on Saturday, 28 people had already died in similar conditions, according to the National Association for the Study of Snow and Avalanches (Anena) which publishes each year of accident statistics.

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