Teacher facing charges after avalanche claims lives of two students

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Scores of rescuers worked into the night Wednesday looking for victims of an avalanche that struck in the French Alps, killing two teenagers and a Ukrainian skier after engulfing them on a closed slope, officials said.

PARIS, France – A teacher who took his students onto a closed ski slope in the French Alps is facing charges.

Authorities say the physical education teacher accompanied 10 students from the St. Exupery school in Lyon to a part of Les Deux Alpes ski resort that has been closed off since the start of the ski season.

Experts say that part of the resort was closed at first due to lack of snow and then due to a high avalanche risk.¬†The expert-level slope was under a Level 3 (of a five-level scale) avalanche risk at the time of the students’ visit.

During the visit, many signs and a safety net had been put up to keep people off the course. However, the students and their teacher went over that net.

Tragically, an avalanche swept many of the students down the slope and claimed three lives, including the lives of two students.

Officials found the body of a 16-year-old girl on the slope, while a 14-year-old boy died after being transferred to a hospital.

The teacher, who is not a ski instructor, was among those caught up in an avalanche and was still in the hospital one day later with non-life threatening injuries.

The students involved in the avalanche were among 19 from the school and were accompanied by three teachers. Three of the students spent the day at a hotel while the other six skied less challenging runs.

One teacher who rebuffed the 10 students’ morning request to go onto the banned slope spent the afternoon at the hotel, while the teacher now facing charges then accompanied the more advanced student skiers, prosecutors said.

Authorities are still investigating the exact cause of the avalanche, but some of the students said they feared they might have unknowingly set off the avalanche.

The teacher, whose name has not been released, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter.


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