Two of the world’s best skiers have been found dead after an avalanche in southern Chile.
Jean Phillipe Auclair from Canada and Carl Andreas Fransson from Sweden had been working on an adventure documentary in Patagonia along with two other tourists from Sweden when they were hit by the sudden cascade of rocks and snow.
The group had been climbing the San Lorenzo mountain at the time, and the force of the avalanche was enough to drag Auclair and Fransson down into bordering Argentina, where their bodies were spotted by a helicopter crew at midday on Tuesday.
The two other Swedes, who were not swept up in the avalanche, helped to advise search crews to find the bodies. According to local officials, the missing skiers tried to call for help by satellite phone but could not be found in time.
Auclair, 37, began his career in freestyle skiing but became a legend among the extreme skiing community, where highly-skilled individuals traverse long, steep and dangerous slopes, BBC News reported.
He was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year for 2014, appeared in films, and designed his own range of skiing equipment. The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association tweeted that “his presence in the sport will be missed”.
Fransson, 31, had made his home in France’s Chamonix and described himself on Twitter as a “professional skier, writer, philosopher, guide and adventurer”.
According to The Local, just days before his death he posted a message to his tens of thousands of Facebook fans saying: “Our Patagonia adventure just started… you probably won't hear much from us in a while.”
Sara Skogsberg-Cuadas, spokesperson for one of his former sponsors, outdoor equipment company Haglöfs, told The Local: “He was a very great man and he will be hugely missed by all of us.”
The regional director of Chile's Emergency Service, Sidi Bravo, said the pair went missing at an altitude of around 12,000 feet (3,600 metres), and that 90 per cent of the people who go missing in the remote area are never found.
“It was lucky to have found them and to be able to recover them,” Bravo said.
Officials said the bodies would be removed by Argentinian authorities and examined by the doctors in Rio Gallegos, Argentina, before being returned to their homelands.Reuse content