Eight Climbers Missing After Mont Blanc Avalanche

CHAMONIX, France (AP) — A vast search operation in the Mont Blanc range of France has been suspended.

An avalanche swept down a major summit before dawn today. Eight climbers are missing and presumed dead along a route often used to reach the peak of western Europe’s tallest mountain.

Authorities say they deployed three helicopters, dozens of rescue workers, doctors, Alpine guides and sniffer dogs.

Officials say the search for the missing climbers was suspended this afternoon because of the risk that the warm weather could melt ice blocks and provoke another snow slide.

The missing are five Austrians and three Swiss. Two Italians thought to be among them had already returned to Italy.