Two people have died and 22 have been injured in a massive blaze at a French Alps ski resort popular with Britons including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today.
The fire broke out early this morning in a three storey residential block full of seasonal workers in Courchevel, in eastern France.
It spread to two nearby buildings ‘extremely fast leading to panicked occupants jumping out of windows to save their lives,’ said local government official Frederic Loiseau.
Videos from the scene show people jumping from windows to escape the flames and debris falling to the floor.
It is thought that these people survived the blaze as firefighters found two bodies underneath the rubble of the accommodation block.
Two people have died after a fire broke out in a building at the Courchevel ski resort in the French Alps early this morning
Firefighters climbed ladders to reach the top of the building and rescue people stuck inside
Firefighters can also be seen climbing up a ladder to the top floor to try and help people out of the building.
Mr Loiseau said an emergency call was made at around 4.30am, and that the fire raged for a full four hours until being ‘fully extinguished by 8.30am’.
The two dead bodies were found underneath the rubble, and have yet to be identified, and at least four others are very seriously injured.
Some 60 resort workers, including foreigners, were evacuated from the building after the pre-dawn blaze.
Three of the four were badly injured were flown to hospital by helicopter, local officials said.
The foot of the resort’s toboggan run served as a landing zone for the helicopters.
The cause of the fire is not immediately known but around 70 firemen had brought it under control by day-break.
Fire ripped through the accommodation building but the blaze was under control by day-break
Dozens of people stood outside the burning building in the luxury resort after the fire started
Fire can be seen coming from the top two floors in a video shared on social media early today
Eye-witness Yarik Zanuda, a Georgian working in France, posted videos of the horror on social media, and feared a woman who raised the alarm may not have survived.
He said that ‘seasonal workers, mostly young people’ are thought to live in the building.
Mr Zanuda wrote on Facebook: ‘The horrible fire in Courchevel in front of my hotel! Around 5 o’clock in the morning.
‘There were only young seasonal workers! We do not yet know how many people are injured! I saw two young men jump, I saw them later, they are injured and hospitalised.
‘One was saved by firefighters. But the woman who called for help on the 3rd floor, I do not know. I hope she is saved too.’
Local French MP Emilie Bonnivard posted on Twitter: ‘Shock and great sadness following the fire of a building hosting seasonal workers in Courchevel.
‘All my thoughts to the victims and their loved ones, as well as to the town’s emergency workers. Gratitude to the fire firefighters who have once done a remarkable job in extremely difficult conditions.’
Witnesses said they saw residents standing in their nightwear on the frozen streets of the resort this morning after fleeing from the fire.
The resort consists of four villages, the most famous being Courchevel 1850 which is also the highest.
Smoke was seen rising from a building today after the early morning fire at the resort
Firefighters are still at the resort this morning and the fire blazed for four hours before being ‘fully extinguished by 8.30am’
Sometimes referred to as the St Tropez of winter sports, it attracts wealthy visitors and royalty, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Saudi royal family.
Other British celebrities who have stayed there include David and Victoria Beckham, Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, and singer Robbie Williams.
It has 11 five-star hotels and is the only ski resort in France to have hotels with the palace 6th star rating.
A-list holiday: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge reportedly jetted off on their ski holiday to Courchevel on a private plane borrowed from the Duke of Westminster, one of Britain’s wealthiest men