• The group had been climbing Mont Maudit when there was an avalanche

  • A British woman and Slovak national were found dead in a gully last night

  • This morning rescuers then found the body of a German woman as well 

  • Avalanche made of ‘large blocks of ice’ is believed to have hit the group 

A British woman is among three mountaineers who have been found dead following an avalanche on France’s Cursed Mountain, rescue workers said today.

The friends set off to climb Mont Maudit, in the Mont-Blanc range of the Alps, on Tuesday, but got into difficulties as they made their ascent towards the 14,649 feet peak.

It is believed slabs of ice the size of small cars landed on top of them with officials saying the climbers ‘didn’t stand a chance.’

The friends had been climbing Mont Maudit, pictured, dubbed the Curse Mountain when there was an avalanche (file picture) 

The friends had been climbing Mont Maudit, pictured, dubbed the Curse Mountain when there was an avalanche (file picture)

The bodies of the so far unidentified British woman aged 33 and a 32-year-old Slovak national were found in a gully on Wednesday night.

As dawn broke today, rescuers also found the body of a female German mountain guide, aged 50, who had been climbing with them.

Stephane Bozon, of the Chamonix gendarmerie, said: ‘The three victims died instantly due to head injuries caused by a mixture of snow and ice.

‘Some slabs of ice were four meters by three meters.’

Describing further macabre details of the tragedy, Mr Bozon said: ‘We had to break the slabs up with a chainsaw. The bodies were discovered between 50 centimeters and one meter deep’.

All had set off from the Cosmiques refuge, which can be reached by cable car, at around 1.45am on Tuesday morning, intending to climb three peaks, including Mont Maudit, which means Cursed Mountain.

The German guide was permanently based in nearby Chamonix, and when she failed to make contact with friends there, one raised the alarm on Wednesday.

Eight gendarmes and a helicopter were mobilised immediately, and the first body was found at 8.08pm on Wednesday, the second at 8.50pm.

Mr Bozon added: ‘Given time and the darkness, we had to stop the search at 10.30pm, and start the search again at 6am on Thursday.

‘The body of the guide was found at 6.30am today, before being taken off the mountain by helicopter.’

According to Mr Bozon there was ‘no high risk of an avalanche’ on Tuesday, but the risk of falling slabs was ‘well known and permanent’.

The latest tragedy also follows a former Royal Marine dying in a climbing accident in another part of the Mont Blanc range, pictured, last month

The latest tragedy also follows a former Royal Marine dying in a climbing accident in another part of the Mont Blanc range, pictured, last month

The British woman is thought to come from a Polish background, the rescuer added. He said she would not be formally identified until next of kin had been informed.

In 2012 nine climbers, including three from the UK, were killed by an avalanche as they attempted a dawn ascent of the same Mont Maudit – or Cursed Mountain in English.

The latest tragedy also follows a former Royal Marine dying in a climbing accident in another part of the Mont Blanc range last month.

Duncan Potts, 28, of Coldridge in Devon, was descending the Dent du Geant (Giant’s Tooth) sector when a rock fell on top of him.

Mont Blanc is Europe’s deadliest mountain range, with around 100 people dying in the area every year.

Some 200 people attempt to reach the peak of the 16,000ft mountain every day during the summer months.

Source: Daily Mail