French avalanche kills four skiers in Val d'Isere
Four skiers, including a British man, have been killed in an avalanche in the French Alpine resort of Val d'Isere, police have said.
Police Lt Col Jean-Claude Gin said the four - who also included two French citizens and a Swede - were among a group who had been skiing off-piste.
A fifth skier caught by the avalanche was rescued unscathed.
The UK Foreign Office said it was providing consular assistance to the family of the dead Briton.
Lt Col Gin said: "The four people's hearts had stopped by the time they were pulled from the avalanche."
Two people who escaped the avalanche raised the alarm.'Effect of snow'
Xavier Idier, an Interior Ministry official in the Savoie region, said a 50-strong rescue team including four doctors were unable to reach the victims for 50 minutes.
He said: "The cause of death was the effect of the snow. Without oxygen it is difficult to survive for more than seven minutes under the snow.
"The weather conditions were good but four days ago there was heavy rain at high altitude which could have been the reason for the avalanche."
Mr Idier said the group's guide was not buried in the avalanche and survived.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of a British national in Val d'Isere. We are providing consular assistance to the next of kin."
A British man died late last month after being hit by an avalanche in the same area. A Frenchman and his two sons were killed in November.