Two skiers are dead following an avalanche on Mont Blanc, France’s highest mountain, and another hiker was killed on another slope in the French Alps, according to local authorities.

The Haute-Savoie region administration said an avalanche Thursday swept through an off-piste area of the Saint-Gervais-les-Bains ski resort at an altitude of 7,545 feet. As a result, several people were trapped and buried in the snow.

Dozens of mountain rescuers searched for survivors and managed to rescue six people, one with undisclosed injuries. The crews also recovered the bodies of one man and one woman who were deceased, the administration said.

‘’It’s terrible what happened. A family is decimated, and we are very sad in Saint-Gervais,” Saint-Gervais Mayor Jean-Marc Peillex told BFM television. He also said the weather conditions were unstable, increasing the risk of danger during such outings. “It rained, it snowed, it was warm.”


Authorities are attempting to determine the cause of the avalanche.

Just north of Mont Blanc, rescuers found a 31-year-old hiker who had died after falling on the slope of the Ecrins mountain range. Local broadcaster France-Bleu, citing rescuers, said the hiker was with a friend and had veered away from hiking paths to look at mountain goats when they fell.

The French Alps are a popular skiing destination for tourism as well as professional competitions, including the FIS Alpine Ski World Championship.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.