Alps hiker killed after being gored by bull

A hiker in the French Alps died when he was charged by a bull as he took a Sunday morning stroll with his wife.

Alps hiker killed after being gored by bull

The 59-year-old man and his wife were walking in the Hautes-Alpes near the village of Réallon, in the Ecrins National Park, in south east France.

According to reports the bull charged as the pair were crossing an enclosed field that contained around 15 cattle.

The bull gored the victim in his thigh, which left him with a severed artery. He also suffered head injuries as he was dragged across the field for around 20 metres by the bull.

His wife was left in shock, but was able to raise the alarm. Her husband was airlifted to a nearby hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police in the nearby town of Briancon are investigating the incident.

Incidents of hikers being killed by cattle are extremely rare.

France is a popular destination for trekking during the summer months, with the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Auvergne region among others, all drawing thousands of walkers, who come to enjoy the stunning scenery.

The network of footpaths often passes through farmland and authorities are warning walkers not to get too close to cattle.

In July 2013 hikers in France were warned about the dangers of herds of cattle after an 85-year-old walker was killed in the Pyrennees when a cow charged at him.

Four others including two children were left injured.

Authorities were forced to issue reminders that “cattle are not domestic animals” and advised hikers to keep their distance.

“There must be a certain distance and do not approach them. They are not pets,” said local mayor Pascal Sancho. “When you see that they are heading in a particular direction it is best to give them priority.”

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Dad’s ‘miracle escape’ after being buried by avalanche in French Alps

A man out walking with his family in the French Alps has made a miraculous escape from an avalanche after spending more than two and a half hours trapped under snow, rescuers said.

Dad's 'miracle escape' after being buried by avalanche in French Alps
Ski lifts in France are closed, but visitors and locals are free to enjoy other outdoor sports. Photo: AFP

The 50-year-old father was snowshoeing near the high-altitude Val d'Isere ski resort with his wife and two children on Thursday without anti-avalanche safety equipment.

“Thank to the mobilisation of nearly 100 people… the man was found alive after two hours and 40 minutes of searching,” the police for the local Savoie département announced on Twitter.

Because of the depth of the snow, rescue dogs were unable to detect a trace, but the man was eventually dug out by a specialised mountain police team which used a Wolfhound device to locate his mobile phone under the ice.

“I think it's a miracle,” Alexandre Grether from the PGHM rescue team told the France 3 local news channel, adding that the man was found 2.5 metres (eight feet) below the surface.

The chances of survival after more than 20 minutes in an avalanche are usually slim.

“He was protected by a tree, that's what prevented him from being crushed by all the ice that slid down. The snow had surrounded him, but he had a pocket of air,” he explained.

The victim is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a fracture to his hip.

The avalanche risk on Thursday was at its maximum – five on a scale of five – and rescuers urge people to always check the snow conditions before venturing out.

READ ALSO 'Whole season a write-off' – what next for France's ski resorts?

Ski lifts in the Alps, which have seen some of their heaviest snowfalls in years in January, are currently closed because of restrictions imposed by the government to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Visitors and locals are free to enjoy hiking, cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing, but occupancy levels in hotels and chalets are way down and business owners and seasonal staff face serious hardships.

The government has promised an economic support package for the sector.