France: Memorial for avalanche victims held in Chamonix


The Mont Blanc massif in the French Haute-Savoie region.



A funeral service for the nine foreigners killed in Thursday's avalanche in the French Alps was held today in the town of Chammonix, reported BBC News

The name of each victim was read aloud and candles were lit at the afternoon service today, said The Daily Telegraph

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Three British citizens, two Germans, two Swiss and two Spaniards were killed in the avalanche, making it the deadliest such incident seen in France in a decade. 

One of the British victims, Roger Payne, was considered one of the country's most skilled mountaineers, said SKY. Payne and the other two Britains killed were using the climb to raise money for a local hospice, reported The Telegraph

The nine, part of a 28-member group making the popular climb to the top of Mont Blanc, were hit by a massive 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. 

The avalanche experience was like being caught "in a washing machine," survivor Daniel Rossetto, a elderly French mountain guide, earlier told the Daily Telegraph.

Local officials said the avalanche was likely caused by winds, the Daily Telegraph reported today