Update 14/01 11:02
Emergency services are still at the scene of the accident. The search is complicated for three reasons. First, there are no signals from avalanche beacons and this feels like searching for a needle in a haystack. Second, it is not known if there are still victims burried underneath the snow. It seems that everyone who was missing has returned, but it could be possible that there are more victims. Third, the avalanche debris is around 7 to 8 meters thick and it's snowing again in les 2 Alpes, which isn't good for visibility.
Update 14/01 9:59
No one in the group was wearing an avalanche transceiver (that's the information we have now), and this slows down the rescue operation because it's too difficult to locate the victims. The victims are a 16-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl. The third victim was reported to be a skier from the Ukraine. That report has now been withdrawn. It is an 57-year-old man from eastern Europe. The teacher who was riding with the group of students is still in the hospital. It concerns a 47-year-old teacher.
Update 13/01 19:19 Three people died in the avalanche in Les 2 Alpes. Two kids/adolescents and one skier from the Ukraine didn't survive the avalanche. They fear for the lives of other heavily injured victims. More information.
At least five people were heavily injured by avalanches in the French Alps today. They were taken to local hospitals. A group was on its way on a closed slope in Les 2 Alpes today and in Avoriaz an avalanche swept across an open, marked slope.
A group of skiers were caught today by an avalanche as they were skiing on a closed black run in the ski area of Les 2 Alpes. The group of 10 (a mix of students and adults) triggered the avalanche on the closed Bellecombe slope. At least four of them were heavily injured and taken to hospitals nearby.
This is the second time this season that an avalanche is triggered on a closed slope. A skier from Spain died last week in Tignes, when he was skiing on a closed slope with friends.
An avalanche hit a blue slope in Avoriaz today. Fortunately there weren't many people around. A large avalanche of 400 meters long and 100 meters wide dragged a lot of skiers with it. Six people were injured, one was taken to a local hospital by helicopter. Mountain rescue, assisted by ski instructors, four dogs and the PHGM, has been searching for two hours for more skiers or snowboarders.
The text below was posted on Facebook:
'After reports of a large Avalanche affecting on and off piste areas in the Arare area of Avoriaz area we ask that if you have friends or family who were out alone in the Avoriaz area, you please make contact to ensure they are ok. For everyone else please avoid the higher areas of the mountain for today. Thank you.'
This already is the second avalanche this week that hits an open, marked slope and drags down multiple skiers. The same thing happened in Verbier lately.
More and more people venture off-piste, but not everybody has the right knowledge and the right gear. Already 15 people died because of avalanches this winter. Do you have the right knowledge to ride off-piste? Test it yourself and start with the first capital of the Mountain Academy for free! No knowledge? Stay on the marked slopes or hire a mountain guide!