Climbers killed in avalanche to be remembered

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Climbers killed in avalanche to be remembered

Climbers killed in avalanche to be remembered
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A memorial service is to be held in Chamonix on Saturday for nine climbers who were killed in an avalanche near the French ski resort.

The dead include three British, one Swiss, three Germans and two Spanish climbers.

Officials said heavy snow falls and high winds had created the perfect conditions for an avalanche around Mont Blanc in the French Alps.

The area has been known to be an avalanche “blackspot.”

“The area concerned is too big to isolate different climbing groups,” said Chamonix police chief Jean-Baptiste Estachy.

“If we do that the climbing time falls and if that happens and its late, climbers put themselves in danger because the area becomes exposed to the sun,” he added.

The Mayor of Chamonix Eric Fournier added: “ I organised a memorial service, to be held in the church of Chamonix tomorrow.”

While many in the group of 28 mountaineers escaped the avalanche, nine people were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said a full investigation will be launched.

An early report suggested a climber may have stepped on an icy patch, triggering the giant slide.