On Sunday, February 25, a massive avalanche occurred around 12:30 p.m. in the Val d'Enfer valley, in the Sancy Massif in France. Local emergency services were deployed immediately but, unfortunately, four people have been confirmed dead and three others injured, while two are still missing. The seven rescued people were found thanks to several members carrying emergency beacons. One of the three injured was confirmed to have deployed her airbag.

A group of nine members of the Vichy French Alpine Clubs had set out on Sunday and were caught in an avalanche not far from Mont Dore. According to Sébastien Dubourg, mayor of Mont-Dore, the area where the avalanche occurred, known as Val d'Enfer, is known to be dangerous, "It's a funnel... the mountain is unfortunately stronger than us," he stated in a press conference.

A crew of in total 50 rescue crew were mobilized by 1:30 p.m. consisting of specialists from various emergency response services, including dog teams, high mountain gendarmerie, and other specialists. According to Benoît Asselon, Head of Operations of the local mountain rescue Puy de Domes Saupeurs-Pompiers (SIDS 63), rain may have weighed down the snowpack that had accumulated in recent hours.

Rescue services quickly found seven people, four of whom unfortunately had already died. Three other people were slightly injured in this avalanche but the exact injuries are at this stage not known. According to the press release by the local community, the mountaineers were roped in at the time and were led by an experienced mountain guide, David Vigouroux, who has been confirmed as deceased. Vigoroux was co-founder of the Bureau de Guides d'Auvergne and was an experienced mountain guide who had written several books on mountaineering.

Rescue services are active to find the last two missing, despite the inclement weather.

The Clermont-Ferrand prosecutor's office has opened an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Around 50 rescue crew responded to the avalanche.
© La MontagneAround 50 rescue crew responded to the avalanche.