CHAMONIX, France, July 12 (UPI) -- An avalanche near a French Alpine ski resort Thursday killed nine people and injured nine others, with four people still missing, officials said.
The deceased were from Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, the BBC reported.
Rescue crews have been sent out to search for those still missing, local authorities said.
The hiking party of 28 people was overwhelmed by the snow slide on Mount Maudit, which translates as "cursed peak," British newspaper The Guardian reported.
A spokesperson for the Alpine high mountain gendarme platoon said the avalanche was likely caused by the snow collapsing under the July heat as the sun rose around 5 a.m.
"We were initially alerted just after dawn by one of the survivors who called us on a mobile phone," a spokesman said.
Chamonix Mayor Eric Fournier said it was the "deadliest snow slide in recent years."
"There were no weather reports forecasting an avalanche risk," he added.
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