American Skiers Caught in Snow Storm, Two Freeze to Death
ALBERTVILLE, France (AP) _ Two American skiers froze to death and three others were suffering from severe hypothermia after their party got stranded in a blizzard in the Alps, authorities said Saturday.
The seven were sophomores from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, studying in Luxembourg. They were marooned Friday on the glacier of the 8,000-foot Grande-Motte mountain, in eastern France near the Italian border.
One member of the group, 21-year-old Brent BanHala, reached a ski lift station Saturday morning and alerted authorities. A police rescue squad rushed to the glacier by helicopter.
Rebecca Andrew, 20, of Bath, Ohio, and Christopher Eggerton, 21, of Mansfield, Ohio, froze to death on the mountain. Their bodies were brought to a morgue, authorities said.
Julie Chamberlain, 20, of Cincinnati, Elizabeth Carey, 20, of Fairview Park, Ohio, and Christopher King, 20, of Naperville, Ill., were suffering from severe hypothermia, with body temperatures dropping to 86 degrees. They were hospitalized in serious condition. King also suffered from frostbite, authorities said.
Authorities in France said that BanHala, of North Canton, Ohio and Jon Poploskie, 20, of Troy, Mich. were in good health following the incident, but Miami University said Poploskie was treated for frostbite.
Police in Chambery, about 45 miles south of Geneva, said that because of the storm, ski lift operators in nearby Tignes apparently had stopped the service two hours early, stranding the skiers on the mountainside.
The Miami University program sends 75 students annually to study at the John E. Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg. The students live with host families and are encouraged to travel throughout Europe during their free time.
The university is planning to hold memorial services in Luxembourg and in Oxford, 31 miles northwest of Cincinnati.