Avalanche: Two More British Victims Named

Avalanche: Two More British Victims Named

 The Foreign Office names two more Britons who died in an avalanche as survivors talk of the tragedy ahead of a memorial service.


Two more Britons killed in an avalanche in the French Alps have been named by the Foreign Office.

John Taylor and Steve Barber were from the village of Upper Poppleton, York, and were raising money for nearby St Leonard’s Hospice in exchange to  reach the summit of Mont Blanc.
Stephen Barber and John Taylor

UK Victims Of Avalanche Are Named

“We are devastated to hear of Steve’s death and the deaths of John Taylor and Roger Payne, as well as the other victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends today,” she told Sky News.

“As far as we are aware, he had no direct link with the hospice, so we were very pleased to hear that he recognised the important part the hospice plays in York and the surrounding area.”

Roger Payne,  was a mountain guide and was the third Briton, among the country’s most accomplished climbers.

Mr Payne, was one of the very best mountain guides declaired his fellow enthusiasts, who was well known across many branches in the whole world.

Roger Payne

Roger Payne was a well-known climbing guide

 Two survivors described how they were trapped by a wave of snow that hit them without a sound and how the snow came down  and hit them with tremendous force. He said, “I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and did ten rounds (of boxing). But they scanned me all over and I’m ok.”

Another survivor, 63-year-old guide Daniel Rossetto, described being tossed and trapped by the advancing snow.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said a church service would be held in Chamonix on Saturday afternoon in memory of the dead.

Relatives of the nine victims have already arrived in the resort to pay their respects to their victims.

Town hall security official Jean-Louis Verdier said the families had been taken to the hospital to see the bodies.

“We’re trying to help them understand as best as possible why their loved ones died, so that they can mourn. There was no technical error,” he said.

Till now, the avalanche took the lives two Spanish climbers, three Germans and one Swiss, as well as the three Britons, according to the Prefecture de la Haute-Savoie.

The victims were killed as they traversed Mont Maudit – translated as Cursed Mountain – in the Mont Blanc range near Chamonix. It is the massif’s third-highest peak.

At around 5.20am, French authorities received reports that a “slab” avalanche had hit several groups of mountaineers who were roped together on the northern face of Mont Maudit at 4,000 metre.

French rescue workers

French rescue workers arrive to join the search

Authorities said some climbers had crossed the path of the avalanche before it hit and others were able to turn back.

Describing the sequence of events, it said a block of ice 40cm thick broke off and slid down the slope, creating a mass of snow that was two metres deep and 100 metres long.

Two other Britons were reported missing following the avalanche, but were confirmed safe and well after presenting themselves to police in Chamonix on Thursday evening.

Mr Compton and his mate were reported missing along with two Spanish climbers following the tragedy.

He later said that he was half an hour behind the group caught up in the avalanche and had turned back to Chamonix after seeing the aftermath.

The 41-year-old said he did not realise there was a search party out for him or the scale of what had happened until he saw the news.

Anyone concerned about friends or family following the avalanche can call the Foreign Office on +33 (0)1 44 51 31 00 or 0207 008 1500 in the UK.

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