French Alps avalanche hits school group, 3 dead

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Deadly Avalanche in French Alps

LYON (Reuters) -- At least three people were killed and more were gravely injured when an avalanche hit a school group and other skiers on a closed slope in the French Alps on Wednesday, the interior ministry said.

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The snow slide killed a 14-year-old, a 16-year-old and a Ukrainian adult skier who was not with the school group, according to police and an official from the resort, Deux Alpes, which is about 50 km (31 miles) from the Italian border.

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French Alps avalanche; at least 1 dead
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French Alps avalanche hits school group, 3 dead
Skiers wait in a slope in the Les Deux Alpes resort in The French Alps on January 14, 2016 a day after an avalanche swept away skiers, including a group on a school outing, were swept away. Two French teenagers and a Ukrainian man were killed on January 13 when an avalanche swept away skiers in the French Alps, including a group on a school outing, local officials said. / AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Director of the Les Deux Alpes ski resort Didier Bobilier (C) answers journalists' questions in front of the The French Ski School of Les Deux Alpes resort in The French Alps on January 14, 2016 a day after an avalanche swept away skiers, including a group on a school outing, were swept away. Two French teenagers and a Ukrainian man were killed on January 13 when an avalanche swept away skiers in the French Alps, including a group on a school outing, local officials said. / AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on January 13, 2016 shows a view of of avalanch defences structurs on the slopes in the Les Deux Alpes resort in The French Alps on January 14, 2016 q day after an avalanche swept away skiers, including a group on a school outing, were swept away. Two French teenagers and a Ukrainian man were killed on January 13 when an avalanche swept away skiers in the French Alps, including a group on a school outing, local officials said. / AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
A man clean off the snow on the ground while a woman carries her skis at the Les Deux Alpes resort in The French Alps on January 14, 2016 a day after an avalanche swept away skiers, including a group on a school outing, were swept away. Two French teenagers and a Ukrainian man were killed on January 13 when an avalanche swept away skiers in the French Alps, including a group on a school outing, local officials said. / AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Skiers enjoy a slope at the Les Deux Alpes resort in The French Alps on January 14, 2016 A day after an avalanche swept away skiers, including a group on a school outing, were swept away. Two French teenagers and a Ukrainian man were killed on January 13 when an avalanche swept away skiers in the French Alps, including a group on a school outing, local officials said. / AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Students sit and stand outside the Saint-Exupery high school in Lyon, central-eastern France, on January 13, 2016, during a commemorative gathering after two students from the school and a Ukrainian man were killed when an avalanche swept away skiers in Les Deux Alpes ski resort in the French Alps. The avalanche hit a piste at the Deux-Alpes resort in eastern France that was still closed to the public, engulfing a group of nine French high school students and their teacher from the city of Lyon, according to police sources. A 14-year-old boy died in the deluge while a 16-year-old girl also died later in hospital. The Ukrainian man who died was not part of the school group. / AFP / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
French Education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem addresses the media at the Saint-Exupery high school in Lyon on January 13, 2016, after an avalanche in the French Alps ski resort of Les Deux Alpes swept away a group of teenagers from the high school. Two teenagers and a Ukrainian man were killed when an avalanche swept away skiers in the French Alps, including a group on a school outing, local officials said today. The avalanche hit a piste at the Deux-Alpes resort in eastern France that was still closed to the public, engulfing a group of French school children and their teacher from the city of Lyon, according to police sources. / AFP / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
Students gather and light candles outside the Saint-Exupery high school in Lyon, central-eastern France, on January 13, 2016, during a commemorative gathering after two students from the school and a Ukrainian man were killed when an avalanche swept away skiers in Les Deux Alpes ski resort in the French Alps. The avalanche hit a piste at the Deux-Alpes resort in eastern France that was still closed to the public, engulfing a group of nine French high school students and their teacher from the city of Lyon, according to police sources. A 14-year-old boy died in the deluge while a 16-year-old girl also died later in hospital. The Ukrainian man who died was not part of the school group. / AFP / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
A student lights a candle outside the Saint-Exupery high school in Lyon, central-eastern France, on January 13, 2016, during a commemorative gathering after two students from the school and a Ukrainian man were killed when an avalanche swept away skiers in Les Deux Alpes ski resort in the French Alps. The avalanche hit a piste at the Deux-Alpes resort in eastern France that was still closed to the public, engulfing a group of nine French high school students and their teacher from the city of Lyon, according to police sources. A 14-year-old boy died in the deluge while a 16-year-old girl also died later in hospital. The Ukrainian man who died was not part of the school group. / AFP / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
A 14-year-old boy killed in French Alps avalanche, three seriously injured, local officials https://t.co/6Rz5y6Dqwb https://t.co/HmBvJsNJF4
Un groupe de lycéens emportés par une avalanche aux Deux Alpes: plusieurs blessés et disparus https://t.co/kR4sebk71n
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An interior ministry statement said one person had also been gravely injured. The president's office said three people were seriously injured.

Apart from the two teenagers that died, all other students from the group of 19 had been accounted for and were safe, the ministry said.

Rescue teams worked into the evening searching for other skiers who might have been buried in the snow.

It was unclear why members of the school group and an adult with them had been skiing on a black-rated slope that had already been closed because of the risk of an avalanche.

The avalanche happened in late afternoon, after a large sheet of snow broke off above the slope following several days of heavy snowfall.

RAW VIDEO FROM THE SCENE:

Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Through Ski Location in the French Alps

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