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MONT BLANC

French Alps: Three climbers die on Mont Blanc

Three climbers from the same group died on Mont Blanc in the French Alps on Thursday morning.

French Alps: Three climbers die on Mont Blanc
Illustration photo: AFP
The three climbers died at an altitude of around 3,600 meters at around 10.30 am, according to mountain rescue teams. 
 
The tragedy took place on the Dômes de Miage mountain peaks in the southern area of the Mont Blanc massif. 
 
The climbers, who were from the same roped party, appear to have fallen as a result of their climbing bolts coming unscrewed, according to the rescue teams. 
 
The identity of the victims remains unknown and the rescue operation is still ongoing. 
 
The tragedy comes just a few days after four climbers — including an Italian man and two French women — died in the French Alps on Sunday in three separate accidents, the local prosecutor's office said.
 
Mont-Blanc has been under restricted access since mid-July due to the fact that there have been too many people trying to climb in the massif at this time of year following an order by the Haute-Savoie prefecture.
 
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Four climbers killed in accidents in French AlpsPhoto: AFP

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WEATHER

Mountaineer dies on Europe’s Mont Blanc despite rescue attempts

A French mountaineer died close to the summit of Mont Blanc on Friday after rescuers made several attempts to get to him in a violent storm.

Mountaineer dies on Europe's Mont Blanc despite rescue attempts
A picture taken from a helicopter on August 7th, 2020 shows the Planpincieux glacier of the Grandes Jorasses, on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif, with the Courmayeur village in the background, Val Ferret, northwestern Italy.  Andrea BERNARDI / AFP

The man, in his forties, was climbing Europe’s highest peak when he lost his way and got stuck at 4,800 metres (15,700 feet), assailed by “the storm, the wind, the cold,” rescuer André-Vianney Espinasse told AFP.

He called for help on Thursday evening.

Several helicopters attempted to rescue him but couldn’t get to him due to the weather, Espinasse said.

As a result, one helicopter dropped rescuers off lower down, at 3,200 metres, forcing them to climb the rest of the way at night.

At two in the morning, after reaching a refuge and waiting for the weather to ease, they climbed further into heavy winds.

They found the man some two hours later, suffering from severe hypothermia.

But “at 5.30, in awful winds, the mountaineer suffered a cardiac arrest,” said Espinasse.

A fresh attempt by a helicopter to lift the victim off the mountain failed once again due to the high winds.

The rescuers then decided to leave the body and get out of “this extremely dangerous area”.

A rescue helicopter from neighbouring Italy eventually managed to lift the body off the mountain.

“Going solo on high mountains should really be avoided due to all the dangers involved,” Espinasse said.

Mont Blanc is between the regions of Aosta Valley in Italy and Savoie and Haute-Savoie in France

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