British mother and son killed in avalanche while skiing off-piste with instructor in the French Alps

British mother and son killed in avalanche while skiing off-piste with instructor in the French Alps

A BRITISH mum and her son have been killed in a devastating avalanche while skiing off-piste with an instructor in the French Alps.

The tragedy struck yesterday afternoon at the St Gervais les Bains resort in Mont Blanc.

APTwo Brits are believed to have been killed in the avalanche[/caption]

GettyThe avalanche happened at the Saint-Gervais-les-Bains resort[/caption]

The avalanche swept through an off-piste area on the slopes of Mont Joly, at an altitude of 7,545 feet, the administration for the Haute-Savoie region said in a statement.

It involved a total of eight people – with five of them making a miraculous escape and one of them being injured.

Dozens of mountain rescuers set out to search for skiers trapped, finding a man and a woman dead under the snow.

A group of five Brits from the same family were caught up in the blast.

The instructor along with a 54-year-old mum and her son, 22, were completely buried by the slide.

The Public Prosecutor said an investigation has been launched to determine the exact circumstances of this tragedy. 

An investigating source said: “They were surprised by an avalanche around Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, while off-piste.

“They were in a group of eight people, made up of a ski instructor and his students, when they were hit at a height of around 2300 meters.”

Survivors included the woman’s British husband who – like the victims – has not yet been publicly named. 

Only the instructor was wearing an “avalanche victim detector”, according to the source, who said: “Three out of the eight skiers were buried in the snow, and a search party was mobilised very quickly, after an emergency alarm. 

“The instructor was detected and pulled out, but the man and woman who were buried perished, following a far more complex and long search.”

The source added: “The initial theory is that another party of skiers higher up triggered the avalanche.”

Saint-Gervais Mayor Jean-Marc Peillex said the weather conditions were too unstable for such risky outings.

“It rained, it snowed, it was warm. There are enough marked paths to ski on,” he told BFM television.

“It’s terrible what happened. A family is decimated, and we are very sad in Saint-Gervais.”

Earlier this year six people were swept to their deaths after they were caught up in the snow in the Armancette glacier near Mont Blanc.

Authorities said “three groups of skiers” each “supervised by one or two mountain guides” were caught up in the deadly avalanche.

And last year a British woman was buried in an avalanche as she was hiking with two other people on the Argentiere Glacier, one of the Mont Blanc mountain range’s biggest glaciers.

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