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Mont Blanc - Mont Maudit avalanche: rescue updates

12.07.2012 by Planetmountain

An update by Alessandro Cortinovis, director of the Valle D'Aosta Mountain Rescue Service about the avalanche on Mont Maudit which at 5:30 this morning killed 9 alpinists and injured 14 others.

Update 13/07/2012 - ore 11:00
The families of the 9 alpinists who died in yesterday morning's avalance are expected to arrive in Chamonix. The French authorities have confirmed that of the nine dead 3 alpinists were British, 2 German, 2 Swiss and 2 Spanish. The victims included Roger Payne, 55-year-old British Mountain Guide, former Secretary General of the BMC (The British Mountaineering Council) and former President of theBritish Mountain Guides. Payne had climbed extrensively in the Alps and Himalaya and was one of the most respected mountain guides. The condolences of the entire mountaineering world go to the families of all the victims.

Update at 19:50
News just in: the 4 missing alpinists have been located. Finally some good news.

Published at 17:40
This is the brief update by Alessandro Cortinovis, director of the Valle D'Aosta Mountain Rescue Service: at present the rescue operation, directed by the Chamonix Gendarmeria which also requested support from the Valle D'Aosta Mountain Rescue Service and that of the Guardia di Finanza, has been called off.

The death toll of 9 victims due to the avalanche remains unchanged, while the number of injured has risen to 14. Furthermore, between 4 and 5 alpinists are currently considered missing and in the upcoming hours checks will be undertaken to check whether they have managed to descend on their own. It seems certain that they were part of a group which left at 1.30 this morning, so they might not have been hit by the avalanche and could therefore be, for example, descening down the French Goutier face.

As to the cause of this authentic disaster, it seems clear that what triggered the slab and provoked the avalanche was a collapse of a portion of the seracs located above the slope which leads up to Mont Maudit. As is well known this sort of thing has always happened in the high mountains and is due above all to physical reasons: the glacier moves and the power of gravity combined with the immense weight of the seracs does the rest.

>> read the previous news report about the avalanche on Mont Maudit (Mont Blanc)

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