Alps Avalanche Kills Climbers

July 13, 2012; 7:18 PM
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Rescue helicopter lands in Chamonix, in the French Alps. An avalanche struck 28 climbers on nearby Mount Maudit early Thursday, July 12, 2012. (AP Photo)

An avalanche struck a party of climbers in the French Alps early Thursday, killing nine.

The 28 roped climbers were scaling one of the highest Alpine peaks, Mount Maudit, when the slide struck, the BBC News website said on Thursday.

Nine other injured climbers were taken to a local hospital, but were later treated and released. The remaining ten climbers are alive and accounted for. The party was of multiple countries, including the UK.

According to French authorities, three Britons, three Germans, two Spanish and one Swiss climber lost their lives.

The avalanche is believed to have struck the climbers near the 4,000-meter level -- about 13,000 feet.

Weather was said to have played a major role in the tragedy as recent heavy snowfall and strong winds made the snow pack susceptible to collapse.

Mount Maudit is located near Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. Permanent snow and ice abound over these lofty peaks.

Meteorologist Steve Travis contributed to this story.

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