Climbers die near Mont Blanc in the French Alps

Mountain rescue teams at the Mollaret base in Chamonix in the French Alps in France, on 13 August 2014. Image copyright EPA
Image caption French mountain rescuers said they found the remaining sixth missing climber at the bottom of a crevasse

Six French climbers have been found dead in the Alps in south-eastern France.

The five climbers and their guide, all aged between 27 and 45, went missing in bad weather late on Tuesday.

The bodies were reportedly found after a rescue team was sent to Aiguille d'Argentiere, a 3,900m (12,800ft) peak in the Mont Blanc range.

Evidence suggests the group died instantly after falling 250m, French mountain rescuers said.

The climbers' identities have not yet been confirmed.

Rising death toll

Prosecutor Agnes Robine said the climbers had been on a two-week course, and none were novices.

An investigation is under way into the possible cause of the tragedy, but Ms Robine said it is far too early to draw any conclusions.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Several people have died in recent weeks in the Mont Blanc range of the Alps

Every year thousands of mountaineers attempt the various peaks of the Mont Blanc range, which includes Europe's highest and best-known summit of the same name.

An average of 59 people are killed each year in accidents on its slopes, according to the Chamoniarde, an association that provides safety information for the area.

Although August is usually one of the better months for climbing, snowstorms can still strike quickly.

Since mid-July, two Belgians, two Finns and two Irish have been killed, as well as climbers from Germany and France, Agence France-Presse news agency reports.

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