Friday, May 24, 2024
Friday May 24, 2024
Friday May 24, 2024

Tragic Avalanche claims lives of British mum and son in French alps skiing horror



Grieving Family ‘Beyond Heartbroken’ as Kate, 54, and Archie, 22, Perish in Off-Piste Accident

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In a devastating incident, a British mother and her son lost their lives in a catastrophic avalanche while skiing off-piste in the French Alps. Kate Vokes, 54, and Archie, 22, were victims of a “tragic accident” that unfolded in the Mont Blanc resort, leaving their family shattered and “beyond heartbroken.”

The avalanche struck an off-piste area on the slopes of Mont Joly, situated at an altitude of 7,545 feet, sweeping through a group of eight people. While six miraculously escaped and one sustained injuries, Kate and Archie faced the harsh reality of the mountainside catastrophe.

Despite the efforts of dozens of mountain rescuers in search of the missing skiers, Kate and Archie were found lifeless under the snow. The avalanche, which struck with sudden ferocity, spared no mercy. The instructor leading the group, also buried in the snow, was the sole survivor among those trapped.

The French authorities are currently conducting an investigation to ascertain the exact circumstances of the avalanche, including the possibility of manslaughter charges. Prosecutor Karline Bouisset revealed that the search is underway for “two cross-country skiers” believed to have been “upslope” and potentially triggering the avalanche.

The tragic incident occurred despite the family’s familiarity with the slopes, emphasizing that the risk level at the time was considered only “moderate” on the European Avalanche Danger Scale. The investigators are exploring the theory that another group of skiers higher up may have unintentionally triggered the avalanche.

In a statement, the grieving family expressed their profound sorrow and requested privacy as they navigate through the overwhelming loss. Kate, the family matriarch, held prominent roles, including chair of the Oglesby Charitable Trust, director of the family-owned property company Bruntwood, deputy chair of the Royal Exchange Theatre, and trustee of charities Shared Health and Focused Care. Archie, a personal trainer at Form in Manchester, had recently achieved his level 1 ski instructor qualification in Canada.

The Mayor of Saint-Gervais, Jean-Marc Peillex, lamented the tragedy, emphasizing the unstable weather conditions that made such outings perilous. He stated, “It’s terrible what happened. A family is decimated, and we are very sad in Saint-Gervais.”

The avalanche that claimed the lives of Kate and Archie echoes similar incidents in the region, underscoring the unpredictable dangers of skiing in off-piste areas.


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