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Mont Blanc: 2 more British victims named in French Alps avalanche

Nine people were killed Thursday in the worst avalanche seen in France in a decade.

French alps avalanche mont blancEnlarge
The Mont Blanc massif in the French Haute-Savoie region. (JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain's Foreign Office today revealed the named of two British victims of Thursday's massive avalanche in France's Mont Blanc mountains, reported SKY News, an event that killed a total of nine people, all of them foreigners.

Six other climbers have been hospitalized, according to The Telegraph

The two British citizens were identified as John Taylor and Steve Barber, their names joining the other British victim, Roger Payne, who was their guide and considered one of the country's most skilled mountaineers, said SKY. The three were using the climb to raise money for a local hospice, reported The Telegraph

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At least two Germans, two Swiss and two Spaniards were also killed in the avalanche, making it the deadliest such incident seen in France in a decade. 

The nine, part of a 28-member group making the popular climb to the top of Mont Blanc, were hit by the devastating avalanche coming down a mountain near the ski resort of Chamonix early Thursday.

The climbers were at the range's third-highest peak -- aptly named Cursed Mountain, noted SKY -- when they were struck. 

Survivor Daniel Rossetto, a elderly French mountain guide, told the Telegraph today the experience was like being caught "in a washing machine."

Local officials said the avalanche was probably started by a climber who unwittingly dislodged a piece of ice higher up, forming a deadly six-foot mass of ice and snow as it barreled down the mountain, said The Telegraph

Chammonix mayor Eric Fournier told the French newspaper Liberation on Thursday that local weather forecasts did not report an avalanche risk. 

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls today announced that a memorial for the avalanche victims will be held on Saturday in Chamonix, according to SKY

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120713/mont-blanc-2-more-british-victims-named-french-alps-avalanche