A tragic accident has unfolded in the French Alps involving a unit of 51 French Foreign Legionnaires.
As reported in an article by the BBC, the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment was undergoing training on skis in the Petit Argentier zone near Valfrejus when an avalanche struck. The accident occurred at an elevation of 7,200 feet at roughly 1pm and involved at least 10 soldiers.
Rescue personnel including avalanche dogs were on the scene shortly after.
After completing the search, 5 Legionnaires were found dead and another 4 were described as being “lightly hurt” and were given medical attention at the scene of the incident. Two more were transported to a nearby hospital and treated for hypothermia.
The 5 deceased soldiers are believed to have died from cardiac arrest.
In a tweet, French prime minister Manuel Valls commented on the avalanche saying, “Our country is plunged into mourning after the disappearance of 5 of our legionnaires in the Alps. Thoughts to the wounded, to the families, to the brothers in arms.”
The avalanche danger at the time was classified as a 3 on a scale of 1-5.
*Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and families of the victims.