Climber’s fatal accident on Italian side of peak is latest of string of recent deaths in Alps
A British soldier has died after slipping and falling about 1,000 metres (3,300ft) from the slopes of Mont Blanc, Italian police said.
The man, aged 30, whose name has not been released pending the notification of relatives, had climbed western Europe’s highest peak on the French side and had crossed over to the Italian section of the mountain when he slipped and plunged to his death on Wednesday.
“He fell just below the summit of Mont Blanc on the Italian side. The conditions were good; it was a slip,” said a spokesman for the Guardia di Finanza police in the nearby town of Courmayeur, near the Franco-Italian border.
After being recovered, the man’s body was taken to Courmayeur. Alessandro Cortinovis, head of the Aosta Valley Alpine rescue service, said he had fallen about 1,000 metres.
The police spokesman said the soldier had been making the journey with another climber who was also a member of the British armed forces and was unhurt.
A spokeswoman for the British embassy in Rome said she could not comment on reports that the dead man was a soldier. “We are aware of the death of a British national in Italy today and we stand ready to provide consular assistance,” she said.
The death is the latest in a string of accidental deaths in the Alps. A fortnight ago Felicity Ward, a teaching assistant from Devon, took a fatal fall of more than 90 metres (300ft) while walking near the top of the Col de la Vaurze in the Isère region of south-eastern France.
Three days ago, a 76-year-old British woman was reported to have died after losing her footing and falling in the Swiss Alps.
Meanwhile two Italian women died on 13 August after being hit by falling ice that triggered an avalanche while they were climbing the Massif de Mont Blanc. The pair were swept into a crevasse and buried in snow.