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Skiers Safe after Avalanche Hits French Ski Resort of Tignes | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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FILE PHOTO – A general view of the alpine ski resort in Tignes, France, March 15, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File photo

Skiers caught up in an avalanche that struck a popular resort in the French Alps on Tuesday are all safe, and rescuers ended a large search and rescue operation without finding any victims, authorities in the French Alpine resort said.

The avalanche swept in shortly before 10 A.M. (0900 GMT) in an off-piste area of the vast resort and swept across a relatively easy “blue” slope often used by inexperienced skiers and children. The incident prompted the resort to shut down partly, keeping parts of the ski area open.

An official with the regional administration, or prefecture, said a couple of hours after the avalanche at the Tignes resort that the operation was called off after the local gendarmes had examined every meter of the piste and found no victims. The resort’s press service confirmed there were no casualties.

French media earlier reported that several skiers were caught in the avalanche.

“Several skiers were knocked around and taken care of by resort employees,” the resort’s press service later said in a statement. “No casualties were reported.”

According to the statement, the avalanche started on the Grande Balme off-piste section, and then swept across La Carline slope.

TV footage of the resort showed bad weather conditions and poor visibility on the slopes. Weather services had warned Monday of a high avalanche risk in mountain ranges because of recent snowfall and strong winds. The risk in Tignes is currently four on a scale of five

Four snowboarders died last month in another avalanche near the same resort. On Jan. 18, a devastating avalanche buried a hotel in central Italy, killing 29 people.