- The avalanche occurred Sunday afternoon in the Auvergne region at 5,250 feet
- Horrible accident claimed the lives of Frenchman David Vigouroux and three other people
Four climbers, including a renowned mountain guide, were killed and three others injured during an avalanche in Hell’s Valley in central France.
The terrible accident claimed the life of Frenchman David Vigouroux, 50, on Sunday afternoon in the Auvergne region, at an altitude of 5,250 feet.
Joël Mathurin, prefect of the Puy-de-Dôme department, said the accident occurred above the village of Mont-Dore, in an area known as Val d’Enfer, the Valley of Hell.
“Four people were killed and three injured following the accident on Sunday afternoon,” Mr Mathurin said.
“In total, seven people were tied up and four of them were buried by the avalanche, under up to four meters of snow, before the others could call the emergency services. The three survivors were treated for minor injuries.
The terrible accident claimed the life of 50-year-old Frenchman David Vigouroux (pictured) on Sunday afternoon in the Auvergne region, at an altitude of 5,250 feet.
Mathurin confirmed that Vigouroux, a highly respected mountain guide who was leading the climb, was among the dead.
Around 50 rescuers were sent to the scene, including 14 police officers, 21 firefighters and two dogs trained to find avalanche victims, local media reported.
Sacha Espinasse, one of the rescuers involved, said: ‘It’s tragic. People think we work on a small mountain, but we shouldn’t think like that, because very serious accidents can happen very quickly.’
All those involved were linked to the Vichy Alpine Club and were all experienced climbers.
Sébastien Dubourg, mayor of Mont-Dore, said: “We are truly stunned. This is the worst tragedy of its kind in 50 years.”
He said the three survivors were taken to Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, where one remained under observation with moderate head trauma.
Clermont-Ferrand prosecutors have opened an investigation into the exact causes of the accident, in collaboration with the judicial police.
The mountains of Auvergne, many of which are of volcanic origin, are not as high as those of the Alps or the Pyrenees, but they are very remote, frequently covered in heavy snowfall, and are known to be a dangerous area.
Joël Mathurin, prefect of the Puy-de-Dôme department, said the accident occurred above the village of Mont-Dore (pictured), in an area known as Val d’Enfer, the Valley of Hell.
Local news said Vigouroux had turned 50 just two weeks ago, on February 11.
Born in 1974, he discovered climbing as a teenager and later became a high mountain guide in 2014, training in Auvergne and around the world, including Greenland and South America.
He was also the author of a book on the history of mountaineering in Auvergne.
The identities of the other three victims were not immediately reported.