On Monday, January 18, 14 legionnaires from the Foreign Legion’s 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment (2e REG) were caught by an avalanche while crossing a saddle of the Petit Argentier in the French Alps, during a mountain warfare basic training. The avalanche killed five of them. Nine legionnaires were injured, two of them seriously.
UPDATE 19.01.: The French Army specified that those killed legionnaires were a Malagasy (33 years old), who received the French citizenship after 5 years of service spent in the Legion, an Italian, a Nepalese, an Albanian and a Moldovan. The youngest killed legionnaire was 21 years old; he joined the Legion in June 2015. All of them were assigned to the 3rd Company, 2e REG.
UPDATE 27.01.: The sixth legionnaire (a Hungarian), who was among those fourteen men caught by an avalanche, died on Monday, January 25.
The accident took place at 2,200 meters near the Valfrejus ski resort, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, on the eastern border of the country, close to Switzerland and Italy. 51 legionnaires from 2e REG were involved in a military course to receive the Military Skier Certificate (Brevet de Skieur Militaire, BSM). The course was conducted in the area of the Mountain Familiarization Group (Groupement d’Aguerrissement en Montagne, GAM), a mountain warfare training unit of the French Army.
Last week, two French students and a Ukrainian tourist were killed by an avalanche in the same region.
In 2012, a Polish caporal from 2e REG was killed by an avalanche in the French Alps during the same military course.
In March 2015, a 2e REG legionnaire died during a firing exercise.
2e REG – pay homage ceremony to the dead Senior Corporal
2e REG: Life in the mountains 2014
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Mont Garbi accident 1982
GOLE: 1976 Djibouti helicopter crash