12 Jul 2012

At least six killed in French Alps avalanche

10:27 pm on 12 July 2012

At least six climbers have been killed and eight injured in an avalanche near the French Alpine ski resort of Chamonix, police say.

The alarm was sounded at 5.25am on Thursday local time by one of the injured on the slopes of Mont Maudit, the BBC reports.

Foreigners are thought to be among the victims. The injured have been flown to a local hospital.

The mountain is known as a popular route for summer tourists heading for the summit of Mont Blanc.

The climbers are believed to have been roped together in several groups when the avalanche struck.

About 28 climbers from several countries are said to have taken part in the expedition, and reports say a number of them are still missing.

Rescue teams are using a helicopter and heat-seeking device to try to locate the missing.

Mont Maudit - meaning the cursed mountain - is the third-highest peak in the Mont Blanc massif range, rising to 4465 metres (14,650 feet).