black mont pen Bodies of 8 missing Mont Blanc climbers found
French police found the bodies of eight climbers Monday after they went missing in an avalanche near Mont Blanc, western Europe’s highest peak, officials said.
The bodies were buried beneath up to 165 feet of ice, and the climbers four Germans, three Swiss and an Austrian most likely had fallen into a deep crevasse, said Regis Lavergne, commander of the High Mountain Gendarmes based in Chamonix.
Because the area is prone to avalanches, rescuers will not attempt to recover the bodies, which are expected to resurface in “a few weeks or several years” due to the movement or melting of the glaciers, he said at a news conference.
Rescuers had initially said the missing climbers were Swiss and Austrian citizens, but officials later said they included four Germans, who had been climbing together with an Austrian guide. The names of the victims had not been made public.
Seven people hospitalized following the avalanche were discharged Monday, officials said.
Avalanches intermittently hit the celebrated Mont Blanc range, where dozens of climbers die every year, from causes ranging from accidents to heart problems.
Two French climbers in a Swiss sports club died in an avalanche on Mont Blanc in August 2006. In July 2005, a British soldier was killed in another avalanche while taking part in an altitude training course on Mont Blanc du Tacul.