Tourist family victim of a massacre, baby survives
Thursday, 06. September 2012, 16:02
A four-year-old girl has been found alive and unharmed hiding under the bodies of three people, believed to be her British family, who were massacred in a car at a French alpine beauty spot.
Police failed to spot the terrified youngster in the
British-registered BMW car until midnight
- eight hours after the shooting took place.
A French source said she was found hiding underneath her
mother's legs. The two other bodies are believed to be those of her father and
It is not known whether she crawled under the bodies to
hide or was left trapped when they fell on top of her.
The family were believed to have been staying at the Saint
Jorioz camping site. A British family reported their disappearance to police on
Besides the British family, the fourth victim of the
deadly shooting was a cyclist, said to be a local man.
The little girl, who spoke English, was found hiding under
her mother's legs said Eric Maillaud, a prosecutor in the Haute-Savoie area of
Her eight-year-old sister was wounded in the attack and
rushed by helicopter to hospital in critical condition, officials said. She was
said to be in a more stable condition early Thursday but set to remain under
treatment for several days.
Some 15 spent bullet casings from an automatic pistol were
found at the crime scene.
The four-year-old girl was discovered by special
investigators long after police had sealed off the area.
'She was hidden under the bodies for some eight hours and
didn't move for the whole time,' and was not discovered until the investigators
from the gendarmerie reached the scene, Maillaud said.
The body of the male cyclist was found a few yards from
the car, which was in a remote woodland car park near the town of Chevaline,
close to the mountain resort town of Albertville.
One theory was that the cyclist saw the shooting and was
killed to silence him.
Dozens of bullet cartridges littered the scene.
The bloodbath was discovered by a second cyclist – thought
to be British – who stumbled on the horror scene at 4pm (3pm UK time).
The area is close to the Swiss and Italian borders.
Nestled in hills next to Lake Annecy, in France’s Haute-Savoie region, it is a
magnet for British holidaymakers.
The girl was found a short distance from the car, bleeding
from ‘at least three’ gunshot wounds, according to a source.
She was airlifted in an air ambulance to Grenoble’s CHU
hospital where she underwent surgery. At one point, police incorrectly
announced she had died.
Eric Maillaud, the investigating prosecutor from Annecy,
said: ‘It is a dramatic crime scene like we see on the TV. We are employing all
necessary means to investigate. Two men and two women are the victims. The car
is a British-registered BMW estate.
‘One of the male victims was a cyclist. He was found near
his bike in his cycling gear. The other man was in the driving seat of the car.
The two women were in the back of the car. There is a large number of gun
cartridges at the crime scene.’
Didier Berthollet, mayor of Chevaline, said that ‘the
victims were not from the village’, adding that locals had told police they had
seen a car speeding past between 3pm and 4pm. At least 60 policemen sealed off
the area and a helicopter was circling overhead. There were no reports that
anyone had been arrested.
The attack took place close to Doussard, which is hugely
popular with British holidaymakers during the summer months. Police have not
yet confirmed the nationalities of the deceased, but they are thought to be
from the UK because of the BMW’s registration plates.
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