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Two avalanches killed seven people in Savoie on Saturday, May 8, according to a provisional report communicated by the prefecture of the department which had alerted the day before, of a “particularly high” risk this weekend. These new fatal accidents bring the number of victims to 12 since the start of the week.
Seven people died in two avalanches in Savoie on Saturday, according to the prefecture, which warned of a “very high” risk against the instability of the snowpack on Friday due to a warming of temperatures. On Monday, five people had already lost their lives in two avalanches.
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. on the other side of the department, in the area of Mont Pourri which culminates at 3,779 meters in the Vanoise massif, near the resort of Les Arcs. Three people died, according to the prefecture.
The prefecture of the department had warned Friday against a “particularly high” risk this weekend, while 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,” said the mayor of Valloire Jean-Pierre Rougeaux, reached by phone by AFP.
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.