Mont Maudit. Photo: Eltouristo CC-BY-SA-3.0

Mont Maudit. Photo: Eltouristo CC-BY-SA-3.0

Three British mountaineers have been confirmed among nine dead in a major avalanche in the French Alps.

The incident on Mont Maudit in the Mont Blanc massif happened about 5.30 this morning.

At least 28 people were on the route swept by the avalanche, above Chamonix, which is believed to have been set off when a serac collapsed.

Authorities in France said nine people had died, including two from Switzerland, two from Spain and two Germans.

Others were injured in the avalanche and there are still some climbers missing.

Other climbers at the scene went to the aid of those caught up in the avalanche, and they were joined by rescuers soon afterwards.

Mont Maudit is sometimes used as an ascent route to Mont Blanc itself, but also has almost 40 climbing routes itself.

The Haute Savoie Prefecture confirmed three Britons were among those killed by the slab avalanche.

The avalanche happened at about 4,000m.

Record-breaking Everest summiteer Kenton Cool, a frequent climbing in the Chamonix area, called the incident ‘shocking news’.

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