2 skiers missing in an avalanche near Mont Blanc
ROME — Rescue teams were searching for two skiers caught in an avalanche near Mont Blanc, on Italy’s northern border with France, on Sunday, local authorities said.
Two surviving off-piste skiers sounded the alarm shortly after the 1 p.m. avalanche on Val Veny, above Courmayeur, but low clouds prevented helicopters from reaching the scene, said the mayor of Courmayeur, Roberto Rota, on Sky TG24.
Rescuers were traveling to the site by snowmobile, but Rota said the chances of finding the skiers alive were slim given the time that had passed.
Rota suggested that the four skiers were amateurs who had not come up with a guide or proper avalanche safety equipment, although he added that avalanche airbags would only have been useful if rescuers were nearby and arrived at the scene within the first 15 to 20 minutes. .
“Unfortunately, it’s 99% that those involved won’t make it,” he said.
Sunday’s avalanche risk for the region was a “considerable” level three danger on a scale of five risk levels – low, moderate, considerable, high and very high – used by European avalanche warning services, a Rota said.