Olympic snowboarder dies in Swiss avalanche

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AROSA, SWITZERLAND: Julie Pomagalski of France passes a curve on her way to 8th during the Women’s parallel giant slalom final contest at the FIS Snowboard World championships in Arosa, 16 January 2007. Ekaterina Tudigescheva of Russia won the race ahead of Amelie Kober of Germany and Fraenzi Kohli of Switzerland. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – French Olympic snowboarder Julie Pomagalski died Tuesday after an avalanche in the Swiss Alps. She was 40-years-old.

The French Ski Federation confirmed the death. It added that a guide, Bruno Cutelli, also died in the avalanche.

The leadership of the federation said in a statement they share “the pain” of Pomagalski’s loved ones in “these difficult times.”

The federation did not confirm the exact location of the avalanche, but international media reported it occurred on Gemsstock mountain in Uri, Switzerland, according to the Associated Press.

Uri police said that four people from France were free-riding on the descent from Gemsstock.

“Suddenly there was an avalanche for reasons that are still unknown,” the police statement said. “As a result, three people slid down the slope with the avalanche. One person was slightly injured and flown by Rega to Kantonsspital Uri hospital. The other two people were completely covered. Any help came too late for them.”

Pomagalski was born in La Tronche, France in 1980. She placed sixth in parallel giant slalom at the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics. She also won a gold medal in snowboard cross at the FIS Snowboarding World Championships 1999.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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