British man ‘freezes to death’ after getting lost in French Alps ski resort

A British school supervisor who went missing after a night out at a bar in a French Alps ski resort is believed to have frozen to death after getting lost on his way home.

British man 'freezes to death' after getting lost in French Alps ski resort
Photo: Tom Wlliams/Flickr
The body of Owen Lewis, 22, was spotted by a helicopter crew after a search had been launched in the Alps resort of Risoul. 
Posters had been put up in the La Grotte de Yeti bar, where Lewis, originally from Coventry had spent the night.
Reports say he had been in the bar on his own and was waiting for friends to turn up the following day.
His body was found by a mountain stream and the footprints suggest he had got lost before freezing in the snow as he tried to find the way home to his accommodation which was just a few hundred yards from the bar.
An investigation has been launched to determine exactly what happened. 
His family raised the alarm when they were unable to contact him by phone the following day.

Lewis had been working as a school supervisor in Neuvic, in the Correze department of central France, after moving over from Britain to join his parents.

He had studied mechanical engineering at college in France.

The tragic case echoes that of another British man who was found dead after freezing to death.
Louis Robertson, 26, from Glasgow had left a bar in the La Plagne ski resort and fell into a stream after trying to take a short cut by passing through a snow-covered area.


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.

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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.