Mar 17 2013
A father and son who fell to their deaths in a "tragic accident" on a hiking trip in the French Alps have been named.
The bodies of Peter Saunders, 48, and his 12-year-old son Charlie were found by rescue services near Mont Blanc on Sunday morning.
Mr Saunders had called for help on Saturday at 2pm local time after Charlie fell down a cliff on a mountain trail in the Chamonix valley.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, their family said: "Peter and Charlie Saunders were involved in a tragic accident whilst walking in the French Alps. They had flown to the French Alps for a short weekend of adventure in the Chamonix valley. They were to have a half day walking followed by a full day skiing.
"Their bodies were recovered by the local mountain rescue this morning.
"Charlie was always full of life, had a really happy temperament and loved spending time with his father. Peter was fantastic at making things happen, resourceful, with a positive approach to life. They will both be sorely missed by friends and family alike."
Mr Saunders and Charlie were exploring a "dangerous, deep, snowy" mountain trail between Bossons and Les Houches when they died.
Captain Patrice Ribes, a French police officer, said emergency services had unsuccessfully tried to trace Mr Saunders' mobile phone call and launched a helicopter rescue.
"We think the father tried to find his son after he called us and asked for rescue. We believe he fell as he tried to find his son. Their bodies were found together this morning at 7.40am," he said.
It was reported that the pair had set off without snowshoes and Charlie fell from around 300 metres, while his father fell 200 metres.