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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Climber missing for four days
Map of Chamrousse
Mountain rescue teams are using specially trained dogs as they resume the search for a missing British climber in the French Alps.

Hopes are fading for teacher Brian Ellis who called for help on his mobile phone after becoming stranded while hiking.

He left a message at the hostel where he was staying, saying: "Help me, I'm stuck, oh God," before the line went dead.

The 53-year-old from Ilfracombe is thought to have become lost in a blizzard on Tuesday after going hiking near Chamrousse in the Massif de Belledonne.


We have a little hope

Compagnies Republicaines de Securite en Montainge

His wife and son have flown to France to await news of him.

A spokesman for the Compagnies Republicaines de Securite en Montainge said a 40-strong party had resumed the search.

The team was also hoping to use a helicopter as well as dogs.

When asked what the chances were of finding Mr Ellis alive, he said: "Very small after four days but we have a little hope."

A search and rescue helicopter was sent up on Wednesday to look for Mr Ellis, but the weather was too bad for it to fly on Thursday.

Mr Ellis was an experienced walker and used to be a member of the Exmoor Search and Rescue Team.

At the family home near Ilfracombe, Mr Ellis's daughter Imogen said: "I really, really appreciate everything the mountain rescue people are doing in France.

Two dead

"Hopefully he will know what he is doing, so it should be all right."

Two Britons have died while climbing in the French Alps in the past week.

A 27-year-old man from Cheshire died after falling 1,000ft on Mont Blanc on Monday.

Last Thursday a 41-year-old mountaineer from Essex was killed when several tonnes of ice collapsed on a glacier in Chamonix.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Lieutenant Pierre Persener, chief of mountain police
"It's now three days that we have been searching"

Click here to go to Devon
See also:

05 Jun 02 | Wales
31 May 02 | England
28 May 02 | Wales
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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