CHAMONIX, France (AP) — Local officials in the area where yesterday's deadly avalanche struck in the French Alps say it would have been impossible to foresee it.
The head of the local mountain search and rescue service says there's no way to predict when a slab of snow or ice is going to detach.
A deputy mayor who is also a mountain guide says the area where the avalanche occurs sees between four and 10 accidents a day this time of year, but rarely something so serious.
The avalanche on Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in western Europe, killed nine European climbers. Fourteen other people were injured.
One survivor told a French newspaper (Le Parisien) he was rolled down the mountain by the slide as he led two Danish climbers -- who also survived. He says they were lucky to be on the edge of the avalanche.
Another survivor said as he was discharged from the hospital that he won't be back any time soon.
But guides were still setting out with clients today, though poor weather limited many to lower heights.
173-r-08-(Rescue helicopter, assisting in the rescue and recovery operation following a deadly avalanche)--Sound of a rescue helicopter assisting in the rescue and recovery operation after a deadly avalanche near Chamonix, France. (12 Jul 2012)
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170-a-12-(Klemen Gricar (KLEH'-men GRIH'-kahr), French Alps mountain guide and rescuer, in telephone interview)-"many people buried"-French Alps mountain guide Klemen Gricar says the climbing group he helped lead saw the immediate aftermath of an avalanche that claimed at least nine lives. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (12 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *170 (07/12/12)>> 00:12 "many people buried"
172-a-11-(Klemen Gricar (KLEH'-men GRIH'-kar), French Alps mountain guide and rescuer, in telephone interview)-"into the helicopter"-French Alps mountain guide Klemen Gricar says he and fellow rescuers had to make quick decisions in heavy mountain winds and dim early-morning light. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (12 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *172 (07/12/12)>> 00:11 "into the helicopter"
APPHOTO XMP101: Clouds billow over the French Alps where an avalanche in the mountains Thursday swept nine climbers to their deaths, near Chamonix, France, Friday, July 13, 2012. Three Britons, three Germans, two Spaniards and a Swiss climber were killed, and 14 people were injured in Thursday's accident below the summit of Western Europe's highest peak. A memorial ceremony is scheduled for Saturday afternoon in the Alpine town of Chamonix. (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca) (13 Jul 2012)
<<APPHOTO XMP101 (07/13/12)>>