CHARMONIX, France, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A helicopter setting off controlled avalanches struck a ski-lift cable and crashed near Chamonix in the French Alps, killing two people.
The pilot and an avalanche control expert died Wednesday when the Ecureuil B3 helicopter hit the cable, the London Independent reported. Witnesses said the cable flexed like a catapult and flung the helicopter against the mountain-side. A third man in the helicopter was seriously injured.
In a separate incident, searches for a missing American skier continued in the same area of the Grands-Montets massif, near Chamonix, without success.
The missing American skier, Chris Kedy-Cady, 24 , from Boston, disappeared Sunday after heading off-track despite avalanche warnings throughout the area. His female companion, who had refused to leave the marked slopes, raised the alarm when he did not return to their hotel.
Seven off-track skiers and snowboarders have died in the French Alps since Christmas.