Four snowboarders die in Tignes, France avalanche

The avalanche path just outside of the Tignes resort boundary that buried and killed four snowboarders. [Photo] Courtesy BBC News and Alice Masuyer

TIGNES, FRANCE Four snowboarders were killed Monday, February 13 after being caught in an avalanche that was triggered out-of-bounds near the Tignes resort boundary in Southern France’s Rhône Alps. The deceased include a father, 48, his 15-year-old son and the son’s 19-year-old half brother. Along with the family was Laurent Ruiz, 59, a snowboard instructor who was also fatally injured in the slide. No other names of the victims have been released at this time.

The BBC reports that the ski station statement released after the accident indicates that the avalanche was triggered at 10:30 a.m. by a group of skiers on the off-piste slope above where the four snowboarders were walking. The slide started at 2,100 meters in elevation. It was originally thought that five others were caught in the slide, and a search continued for the missing members until it was discovered that these individuals had not been with the buried group.

The victims were wearing tracking devices that allowed searchers to locate the bodies, but all four individuals were dead at the scene, reports The Guardian. The Guardian goes on to explain that the avalanche danger rating at the time was a three out of five on the European danger scale, which is equivalent to the rating of considerable avy danger in the U.S. After this accident the avalanche-related death total for the Alps and Pyrenees stands at seven for the winter of 2016-17.

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