Climbers killed in Mont Blanc avalanche from southern Germany

Climbers killed in Mont Blanc avalanche from southern Germany
Mont Blanc in the French Alps. Photo: DPA
Three of the eight mountaineers killed this Sunday in an avalanche on Mont Blanc in the French Alps were from southern Germany, officials announced Tuesday – but the fourth German remains unidentified.

Rescue workers had not been able to find the climber’s bodies until Tuesday, but dangerous snow conditions have prevented rescuers from recovering their bodies, which remain under an ice sheet between 20 and 50 metres thick.

Two of the climbers were from Bavaria, the State Office of Criminal Investigation said on Tuesday, declining to offer more information.

A third German who was also killed on the 4,695-metre (15,404 feet) peak was likely from the southern state of Baden-Württemberg in the Bodensee region, German news agency DPA reported.

The eight climbers killed were part of two rope teams. Among the Germans were three Swiss climbers and one Austrian. The two groups were swept more than 1,000 metres before they were buried, officials reported.

“The didn’t make any mistakes, and it wasn’t the weather. It was just bad luck,” a Chamonix police spokesperson said on Monday. The avalanche was apparently triggered by a block of ice that fell from a crag. “You can’t anticipate that,” he said.