At least nine mountain climbers were killed when a six-foot-thick wall of snow came crashing down on them in the French Alps on Thursday, French police said.
At least four people are missing, and two were found alive in the snow after the avalanche, French police said.
The dead climbers include people from Germany, Britain, Spain and Switzerland, police said.
The nationalities of the missing are unknown, police said. There were also French climbers in the party.
Two groups of climbers were caught in the avalanche on the north side of Mont Maudit in the Mont Blanc range on the French-Italian border, police said.
A total of 28 climbers between the two groups were connected by ropes, authorities in Annecy, France, said.
A mountain rescue unit was called out at 5:25 a.m. after avalanche was triggered when a sheet of ice dislodged.
Nine people have been taken to a hospital with slight injuries, police said.
Some of the climbers managed to get themselves back to their base at the Refuge des Cosmiques.
The rescue operation is continuing, police said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun