Holidaymakers rushed to pack their bags and quarrelled over the few taxis available when the only road link with the avalanche town was opened on Thursday (February 12).
Holidaymakers rushed to pack their bags and quarrelled over the few taxis available when the only road link with the avalanche town was opened on Thursday (February 12). This film was taken before Wednesday's (February 11) further avalanches caused more chaos to an already difficult situation.
Forty-two people died at the fashionable Alpine ski resort two days earlier in France's worst avalanche disaster, and the tortuous road leading to Bourg-St.-Maurice, 20 miles (32 kms) below, has since been blocked.
As soon as the reopening of the road was announced at the town hall at Val D'Isere, a crowd of 300 raced to their hotels to pick up their luggage. Holidaymakers quarrelled over who were to use the few taxis available, and scoured the town for other vehicles to take them down the mountainside.
A snow blizzard was still sweeping the area this morning (Feb 12), but a drop in temperature froze the snow and reduced the risk of further avalanches, although a snowslide blocked the road out for a while.
Two-way traffic was impossible, and the road was open to descending traffic for only two hours. Barriers were then set up to stop traffic leaving Val D'Isere, and a convoy of 10 buses started up the mountain road to pick up some of the thousands of holidaymakers marooned in the resort.
People dug into the snow, up to 2 metres (6 ft) deep, for their cars, many of which would not start.
In Bourg-St-Maurice, site of the local relief headquarters, officials said one person was missing after an avalanche further down the valley yesterday (Wed. Feb. 11). Mountain troops are searching the area.
The bodies recovered from the Val D'Isere avalanche, have been brought down to Bourg-St-Maurice, where anxious relatives of the tourists began gathering on Tuesday.
A road was also opened this morning from the nearby winter sports centre of Tignes, where 10,000 people had been cut off for five days by the snow.
The French government has promised a full official inquiry into the cause of the tragedy.