Dutch man killed by avalanche while skiing in France

A 45-year-old Dutch man died in a skiing accident in France on Monday. The man was skiing outside the designated track with his son and a friend when he was hit by two avalanches. Attempts to resuscitate him were to no avail, the mountain police in Modane, Savoie said to newspaper AD.

"The man was skiing around 2:00 p.m. with his son of 22 and a friend outside the track, in a gap between the slopes de la Madeleine and the chairlift du Frene", a spokesperson for the mountain police said to the newspaper. According to the spokesperson, the Dutch skiers were being irresponsible, but also had extremely bad luck.

"He was hit by an avalanche twice. The first covered him with a thin layer of snow from which his son released him fairly quickly. They then discussed what to do. Because the father was unable to continue skiing and their cell phones had no range, they decided that his son would get help. While his son was on the way to the nearest ski station, where he sounded the alarm, his father was buried under a second avalanche."

Ski-lift workers who returned to the spot with the son, could not find the man. Rescue workers eventually located him with a sniffer dog, and removed the unconscious man from the snow. "My colleagues tried in vain for three quarters of an hour to resuscitate him. After that, an emergency physician made an ultimate attempt for about 45 minutes, but that was to no avail", the police officer said. 

The officer calls the Dutch skiers' behavior irresponsible. "They ignored the warnings not to ski off the slopes because of the great avalanche danger", he said to the newspaper. The avalanche risk in France is currently at 4 on a scale of 5. "And they did not wear an airbag backpack." An airbag backpack contains a balloon that blows itself up in an avalanche and could keep a skier above the snow.