Swiss climbers who landed plane on Mont Blanc risk fine of . . . €38

After being slammed by French authorities for having landed a small plane less than 400 metres from the summit of Mont Blanc on Tuesday, two Swiss mountaineers face no worse than a small fine.

Swiss climbers who landed plane on Mont Blanc risk fine of . . . €38
The pair had landed the aircraft at 4,450 metres before heading for the top of Mont Blanc, Europe's tallest peak.
French police spotted the plane on the east face of the mountain, Lt. Col. Stephane Bozon, who heads the gendarmerie's mountain rescue service in Chamonix, told AFP. 
They intercepted the two Swiss mountaineers to get their identity and asked them to turn back. The pair were then allowed to take off, while the police figured out exactly what offense had been committed.
Law enforcement determined that article L363-1 of the Environmental Code does indeed prohibit aircraft from dropping off passengers in the mountain area for leisure activities, but no sanction is laid out for the violation of this provision, reports Le Parisien
All that remains, then, is a prefectural decree from the 1960s laying out the landing rules in the area, the violation of which is punishable by a €38 fine.

Chamonix mayor Eric Fournier. Photo: AFP
Eric Fournier, mayor of the nearby Chamonix resort, called the incident a “provocation”.
“It constitutes an intolerable attack on the high mountain environment and on all existing protective measures,” Fournier said, describing the behaviour as “unprecedented”.
He has announced that he would be filing a complaint and has called for the regulations governing Mont Blanc to be updated.
The French Alps’ most famous summit is crawling with thousands of climbers during the summer months, aiming to reach the 4,809 metre summit. 
Officials have been grappling with a surge in adventure-seeking tourists – some without sufficient equipment or experience – hoping to scale the mountain during the summer season.
The increase in numbers has led to some people camping illegally and concerns over sanitary risks such as water availability and problems with waste disposal.

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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