France opens manslaughter probe over Les Arcs avalanche death
French authorities have opened a manslaughter investigation following the death of a Russian woman in an avalanche that hit her on a piste intended for intermediate skiers at the popular resort of Les Arcs, officials said Friday.
Most avalanche deaths occur when enthusiasts venture off piste and the hard-packed slopes on which holiday-makers enjoy themselves are generally considered risk-free.
The investigation will seek to establish whether the resort's management properly assessed the avalanche risk on March 29, the day that the 41-year-old Russian was hit by the avalanche as she skied with her husband, daughter and an instructor on a designated red piste.
"It is a case in which we are obliged to investigate the conditions in which the avalanche ocurred and the preventative measures taken by the resort," Gwenaelle Terrieux, the prosecutor overseeing the case told AFP.
An examining magistrate has been appointed and it is expected to be several months before a decision is made on whether anyone will face charges, she added.
According to Les Arcs' management, an avalanche had been triggered in the area of the accident earlier the same day, a measure which should theoretically have ensured there was no risk of an unexpected snow slide.
© 2013 AFP