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Stranded Britons plucked from Mont Blanc

Two British climbers were rescued from Mont Blanc in Italy today after getting stuck 3,500 metres up the mountain.

They are believed to have got into difficulty after a storm broke on the mountain yesterday afternoon.

Two initial attempts to rescue them failed but they were eventually picked up by a helicopter and taken to nearby Courmayeur, at the foot of Mont Blanc, the mountain rescue team said.

The climbers were stranded at Aiguille Noire de Peuterey - which translates as "black needle".

A spokesman for the Aosta Valley mountain rescue service said: "There was a storm yesterday afternoon and the climbers may have had to spend the night on the mountain.

"They could not be rescued until after the weather improved today."

The pair reportedly raised the alarm in a text message to a friend in London.

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in western Europe and is also one of Europe's most popular mountaineering destinations.