ROME (AP) — Rescue teams were searching Sunday for two skiers who were trapped in an avalanche on Mount Mont Blanc near the Italian-French border, authorities said.
Two survivors sounded the alarm shortly after the avalanche at about 1 p.m. in Val Veny, above Courmayeur, but heavy clouds prevented helicopters from reaching the scene, Courmayeur mayor Roberto Rota told Sky TG24 radio station. .
Rescue teams are traveling by snowmobile, but Rota warned that there is little chance of finding the skiers alive due to the large amount of time that has passed.
Rota suggested the skiers were amateurs who did not bring a guide or proper equipment, though he stressed that the airbags would only have been useful if rescuers were nearby or had arrived within 15 to 20 minutes.
“Unfortunately, it is 99% certain that those involved will not make it out alive,” he said.
Avalanche danger at the site was at the “considerable” level, meaning the third of five levels — low, moderate, considerable, high and very high, Rota said.