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France

French ski stations cut off by giant rockfall

The Serre-Ponçon lake in the Hautes-Alpes.
The Serre-Ponçon lake in the Hautes-Alpes. Bruno Faure/RFI

Access to two French Alpine ski stations was cut off on Saturday morning after two giant rocks fell on the road on Friday afternoon. The body of a young seasonal worker was found after being sucked up by a snow-clearing machine in the Pyrenees mountains on Friday.

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Access to the ski stations of Ménuiruies and Val Thorens remained cut off on Saturday morning after the road leading from the town of Moûtiers was blocked by two boulders, one of them ofabout 50 tonnes, on Friday afternoon.

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An alternative route for cars was opened on Saturday and the authorities hoped to clear the road for cars but not lorries or coaches by Saturday afternoon.

About 70km of traffic jams were reported on main roads heading for the Alps on Saturday.

Tragedy struck in the west of the country when the body of a woman in her 20s was found after being sucked into a snow-clearing machine that was clearing a road at 5.15am on Friday.

The dead woman was a seasonal employee in two restaurants in the ski station of Angles.

The cause of death is unclear, although Angles mayor Michel Poulade said it was unlikely that she had been killed by the machine, because it ‘makes a lot of noise”.

The rain and cloud that covered much of France at the end of the week cleared on Saturday, although forecasters said it would return from the west.

There were flood warnings on the Adour river in the west.
 

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