Mont Blanc: French hiker killed by falling rocks

A 68-year-old Frenchman has been killed by falling rocks while hiking on Mont Blanc.

Mont Blanc: French hiker killed by falling rocks
Illustration photo: Col des Montets where the hiker died.
The tragedy occurred near Chamonix at the Col des Montets, a mountain pass in the French Alps in France's Haute-Savoie department.
The incident took place early in the afternoon on Sunday while the man was out hiking with his wife. 
The man died instantly, with his wife immediately alerting mountain rescue, according to a report in France 3 Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
There has been a high number of rockfalls and other landslides this summer at Mont Blanc possibly as a result of the heat wave, according to reports. 
As a result of the accident, the municipality of Chamonix has prohibited access to the area. 
Several climbers have also died on Europe's highest mountain this year, with three people from the same group killed in early August just days after four climbers — including an Italian man and two French women — died in the French Alps on Sunday in three separate accidents.

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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