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Monday 30 May 2016

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Avalanche kills five soldiers during French Alps training

Published 18/01/2016

The incident happened in the French Savoie region
The incident happened in the French Savoie region

An avalanche in the French Alps has swept away a military unit on a training exercise, killing five soldiers and injuring several others.

MP Julien Aubert confirmed the deaths to BFM television, saying the soldiers were training off-piste in Valfrejus in the Savoie region.

He said the group was a mixture of veterans and new soldiers.

Jean-Claude Raffin, mayor of Modane, the nearest town, said the soldiers were out for an all-day skiing session when the avalanche hit. He said six people were injured, three of them seriously.

The group of about 50 men were skiing at an altitude of around 2,000 metres (6,500ft).

Julien Noel, director of the ski area, said the location where the avalanche hit is well-known for skiing and normally is not known as particularly dangerous.

He said the slopes were closed after the avalanche on Monday for safety reasons.

The incident comes just days after three people, including two students, were killed when a school group in the Alps was swept away by an avalanche.

The avalanche risk has been high in the region, where fresh snow has fallen in recent days.

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