Nine Students, Two Adults Killed in French Avalanche
Slide Strikes 26 Teens on School Trip

Les Orres Resort
Monday, January 26, 1998

Nine school children, their teacher and a guide were killed in Friday's avalanche in the southern French Alps.

The avalanche struck the group of hikers, including 26 teenagers on a school trip. French investigators in the avalanche area, have detained a guide for his part in leading the group into a highly dangerous area, near the Les Orres ski resort. The investigators now say the group itself triggered the slide of a nearly thousand foot long snow wall.

The group was snowshoeing in an unauthorized area at an elevation of just under 8,000 feet. It had originally been thought a group of skiers above the hikers had triggered the slide.

There had apparently been numerous high avalanche danger warnings issued in the area when the school trip took place. The children, visiting from The Saint Francis of Assisi school just outside Paris, were taking a week-long snow class.

The children had been accompanied by professional guides from the national outdoor sports center. It was to have been their last outing before returning to school.

Many of the group were allegedly thrown into a densely wooded area and were injured on impact with trees. Six of the students escaped the avalanche unharmed, 11 others and four adults were injured.

Sarah Love, Mountain Zone Staff

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