Four dead in horror avalanche while skiing in ‘Hell Valley’ mountains as French police launch criminal probe

Four dead in horror avalanche while skiing in ‘Hell Valley’ mountains as French police launch criminal probe

FOUR skiers have been killed after getting caught in an avalanche in France.

Cops have launched a criminal probe after a group of nine people were buried by a huge snowslide in an area known as Val d’Enfer – Hell Valley.

GettyFour skiers have died in an avalanche in France. Stock pic[/caption]

Two of the skiers, who were injured, managed to raise the alarm – sparking a search and rescue operation on Sunday afternoon.

Three of the group were found hurt under 13ft of snow after activating their avalanche locator beacons.

But the remaining four – including a renowned mountain guide – were later found dead by rescue crews.

The group were ski mountaineering when the avalanche came crashing down the summit.

Ski mountaineering involves trekking up summits before skiing from the top.

Police in Mont-Dore, central France, have now launched an investigation.

Sebastien Dubourg, Mont-Dore’s mayor, hailed the rescue operation.

He said: “The Val d’Enfer is heavy snow. It’s a funnel.

“The mountain is unfortunately stronger than us.”

The victims are linked by a safety rope when they were buried by the avalanche, according to a French Interior Ministry official.

It is understood the group were from a local branch of the French Federation of Mountain Sports Clubs, reports La Montagne.

Emergency service crews fear members of the group could have caused the snowslide with the off-piste activity.

Judith Husson, the deputy state representative of the French Interior Ministry, said: “Faced with this tragedy, we can only ask for people to be careful in the mountains.”

Christophe Boivin, director of the nearby Mont-Dore ski resort, described the Val d’Enfer as “quite a difficult valley”.

He said dogs were used to search for the missing skiers.

Boivin added: “The rescue services were deployed quite quickly.”

The valley has previously been branded dangerous by officials who have warned skiers to avoid it.

In 2017, a police officer told La Montagne: “It is so steep that even without an avalanche it is dangerous.

“If a mountaineer loses their grip here, we find them in pieces at the bottom.”

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