Search Called Off for 8 Mont Blanc Climbers

Rescuers call off search for Mont Blanc climbers lost in avalanche yesterday
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Aug 25, 2008 7:01 AM CDT
French police and rescue staff load up a French Civil Protection helicopter, prior to departing to the Mont Blanc du Tacul, in Chamonix, France.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The search for eight mountaineers swept away by an avalanche yesterday on Mont-Blanc du Tacul in the French Alps has been called off because of hazardous conditions on the mountain, the Telegraph reports. The five Austrians and three Swiss nationalists are presumed dead. Ten other climbers, suffering from broken bones and hypothermia, were rescued.

The Swiss and Austrian climbers set off in a pre-dawn trek to be in position to assault the peak during daylight hours. About 3am, a chunk of ice broke away and triggered the avalanche. Some 100 people have died in the Alps this summer, including 20 on Mont Blanc. Yesterday was the worst single day for climbing fatalities in Europe since 1997, when seven people died in the Italian Alps, the Telegraph notes.