Danes survive French avalanche

Nine die and as many injured after avalanche hits mountaineers approaching Mont Blanc

Two Danes managed to survive an avalanche that hit a party of mountaineers on Mont Maudit in the French Alps early this morning

Nine are so far confirmed dead, two are missing and several are hurt following the avalanche on the mountain that mountaineers must pass on their way up to the top of Mont Blanc, western Europe’s highest mountain at 4,810 metres above sea level.

At 5:25am, about half an hour after the avalanche hit, one of the injured mountaineers managed to raise the alarm and by 10am rescuers had managed to carry the first five mountaineers off Mont Maudit.

According to the Ritzau news bureau, one of the Danes suffered minor injuries while the other was unharmed after the incident.

The Guardian newspaper quotes Eric Fournier, the mayor of Chamonix, describing the avalanche as one of the deadliest in recent years.

"There was no weather bulletin giving any avalanche warning,” Fournier said, adding that shifting ice sheets could have triggered the avalanche.