(P1) Seven people have been killed by an AVALANCHE in the French Alps in one of the country’s worst snowslides in a decade.

(P2) The avalanche struck at around midday at the Snow Dome in the Alps’ Massif des Écrins, an easily ACCESSIBLE 4,000-metre (13,000-ft) mountain popular with climbers.

(P3) The snowslide, which was the DEADLIEST avalanche to hit the Alps this year, swept away eight people, including several foreign climbers. One person was injured.

(P4) Pierre Besnard, PREFECT of the Hautes-Alpes region, said the avalanche had struck three groups of roped climbers. Staff at a nearby mountain REFUGE ALERTED authorities to the avalanche.

(P5) The victims included German and Czech climbers. Police officials did not confirm any foreign nationalities.

(P6) SEARCH AND RESCUE teams, including three helicopters and groups of search dogs, were continuing to SCOUR the mountain to ensure there had been no other victims.

(P7) The peak, near the town of Pelvoux, is popular because it is a climb that is not considered to be too difficult for amateurs, although avalanches are a risk at the SUMMIT.

(P8) Climbers and skiers are SPORADICALLY caught in avalanches in the popular Alps, particularly during the winter, but this was the deadliest accident so far this year.

(P9) In January, six skiers were carried away by an avalanche in the Queyras range, and just over two months later, three died in the Écrins MASSIF.

(P10) Christian Flagella, a member of the police force in the Hautes-Alpes region, where the mountain is located, said the avalanche was probably TRIGGERED when a layer of snow separated and HURTLED down the hill. “The conditions are winter-like at the moment,” he said.

WORDS: 274



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you have much experience with snow?
  3. What is the most dangerous type of natural event that happens near where you live?
  4. Does mountain climbing appeal to you, or do you consider it too dangerous?
  5. Search and rescue teams include PARAMEDICS in case anyone who is found is hurt. Have you or anyone in your family ever been assisted by a paramedic?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Search and rescue

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