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Saturday, 8 June, 2002, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Search called off for missing climber
Map of Chamrousse
Rescuers searching for a British climber missing in the French Alps say they have given up hope of finding him alive.

Brian Ellis, a teacher from Ilfracombe in Devon, went missing on Tuesday.

He used his mobile phone to call for help saying: "Help me, I'm stuck, oh God," before the line went dead.

Mountain Police say they have done everything in their power to find Mr Ellis, 53, but are now suspending the search due to extreme weather conditions.

Exmoor Search and Rescue team
Mr Ellis in the Exmoor Search and Rescue team

It is not thought it will resume until next week at the earliest.

Mr Ellis had been staying in Chamrousse near Grenoble and had planned to spend a few days walking along a well-known trail.

He is thought to have become lost in a blizzard in the Massif de Belledonne.

He phoned the hostel where he was staying, briefly leaving his SOS message.

But the message was not picked up until an hour later when he failed to turn up for an evening meal.

A search was launched using a helicopter and specially trained dogs.

Family fears

Mr Ellis' wife and son flew out to France to await news of him.

Speaking at the family home before the search was called off, Mr Ellis's daughter Imogen said: "I really, really appreciate everything the mountain rescue people are doing in France.

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

Mr Ellis was a former member of the Exmoor Search and Rescue group.

Two Britons have died while climbing in the French Alps in the past 10 days.

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.


Click here to go to Devon
See also:

07 Jun 02 | England
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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