2 French climbers found dead on Mont Blanc

AP News
Posted: Nov 09, 2011 12:47 PM
2 French climbers found dead on Mont Blanc

The bodies of two experienced French mountain climbers trapped on Mont Blanc for days during fierce storms were recovered by rescue crews on Wednesday, authorities said.

Helicopter crews located the remains of Olivier Sourzac, a 47-year-old alpine guide, and his client Charlotte Demetz at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) on the Grandes Jorasses peak.

RAI Italian state television showed their covered bodies being removed from the rescue helicopter.

The regional administrative headquarters of France's Haute-Savoie region confirmed the pair were found dead by Italian authorities. Rescue crews had initially held out hope they might survive given their experience. But as poor weather hampered rescue efforts, hopes faded of finding them alive.

Italy's Sky TG24 TV said the climbers are presumed to have succumbed to the brutal cold sometime during the night between Saturday and Sunday. That night, temperatures plunged to -30 C (-22 F). The two were tied together and tethered to a nail in the ground to avoid being swept off the mountainside, and when searchers found the pair, the bodies were covered by snowfall, Sky reported. Italian news reports said the last phone contact with the climbers came Friday.