US, Swedish skiers killed in avalanches in Alps

7th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 6, 2006 (AFP) - Two tourists on vacations in the French Alps -- a 28-year-old US man and a 19-year-old Swedish man-- died Monday when separate avalanches swept them away while they skied off-piste despite warnings not to do so, officials said.

PARIS, March 6, 2006 (AFP) - Two tourists on vacations in the French Alps -- a 28-year-old US man and a 19-year-old Swedish man-- died Monday when separate avalanches swept them away while they skied off-piste despite warnings not to do so, officials said.

The American was knocked down a slope and into the freezing waters of a lake at Tignes, a popular resort with foreigners. His body was recovered by rescue workers. His female companion survived.

The Swede was carried off by an avalanche in the nearby resort of Val d'Isere as he skied in deep powder. Two friends he was with managed to free themselves from the snowslide and raise the alarm.

The director of ski runs at Tignes, Jean-Louis Tuaillon, said of the American: "He must have known the risk he was taking because there are signs about the current avalanche danger everywhere, and he took a gondola lift where the avalanche risk is explained in French and English."

Val d'Isere, too, had posted avalanche warnings everywhere, in several languages.

The deaths brought to 45 the number of people to have died so far in France's Alps and Pyrenees mountains this winter, compared to 25 last winter. All the deaths this season occurred off the marked runs.

France's weather service issued its top avalanche alert for the Alps on Sunday after extremely heavy snowfalls in the region which cut access to many of the ski resorts.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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