skier death
The skier died after losing his footing on the north face of a ridge near Aiguille du Midi, while descending the Vallee Blanche.

A British skier died after falling 5,000ft to his death while skiing off-piste in the French Alps on Saturday 18 May, French police said.

The man, who has yet to be named, fell to his death on the Mont Blanc range after being stranded on a glacial ridge close to the Aiguille du Midi mountain.

He had been out with another skier when they were caught in a storm as they descended the challenging Vallee Blanche, 12,460ft (3,800 metres) above the resort of Chamonix.

The two were left trapped on the peak when their cable car broke down, and with bad weather closing in, high winds and blizzards forced them to abandon their intended descent.

The man's companion managed to get to the lift station, guided by a member of staff, but the second lost his footing and fell 1,500 metres down the north face of the cliff at around 9pm.

His companion managed to contact emergency services on his mobile phone, but severe conditions prevented mountain rescue police from reaching them.

Mountain rescue teams recovered the man's body by helicopter on Sunday morning during a break in the bad weather.

Earlier in the week, a British climber survived a 700-metre drop, escaping with bruises after being hit by an avalanche on the nearby Aiguille de Bionnassay, on the Italian side of the border.

He was said to have survived by "swimming" through snow and ice as it collapsed down the face of one of Mont Blanc's highest peaks.