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May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘French Alps’

Israeli Man Identified Among Passengers of Crashed Germanwings Plane

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

A 39-year-old Israeli businessman was among the 150 people killed when a Germanwings Airbus A320 plane crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday morning. Eyal Baum of Hod HaSharon was living in Barcelona and had been commuting back and forth to do business in Germany.

It was Baum’s family who had alerted Israel’s foreign ministry to his presence on the flight, having called to report that Baum, who had business in Dusseldorf, was scheduled to board the flight from Barcelona.

Tragedy struck as French air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft at an altitude of around 6,500 feet, where it crashed in a remote mountainous area between Digne and Barcelonnette, killing all 150 people aboard. Flight 4U 9525 was flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. Six crew members and 16 children were among the dead, officials said.

The low-cost Germanwings carrier is wholly owned by Lufthansa and has an excellent safety record with no previously reported accidents. The aircraft that crashed was 24 years old, however. One of the black boxes has already been found and was to be examined immediately, according to the French interior minister.

French police said search teams would stay overnight on site at altitude, and that it would likely take “days” to recover the bodies due to harsh weather, difficult terrain and snow.

Germanwings managing director Thomas Winkelman told reporters the plane began its rapid descent just one minute after reaching its cruising altitude, and continued to lose altitude for eight minutes. The aircraft lost contact with French air traffic controllers at 10:53 am local time.

The cause of the crash is not known; nor did the plane send out a distress signal, according to a report by the BBC.

Gilbert Sauvan, a member of the local council, told Les Echos newspaper, “The largest debris is the size of a car,” further deepening the mystery of why the plane went down without warning in reportedly good weather.

“This is the hour in which we all feel deep sorrow,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking to reporters at an initial briefing. Merkel added that she intended to travel to the crash site.

So far, “There is no indication of a nexus to terrorism at this time,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan told Fox News.

The Height of Beauty

Monday, November 19th, 2012

View of Mont Blanc from the station where the cable cars meet.

As the cold weather settles upon us, snow and ice become our constant companions. Although it is often uncomfortable, both snow and ice are not always associated with freezing weather. In the Alps, which are located in various European countries, snow and ice can be found throughout the year in breathtaking forms.

The European Alps is a giant mountain spine that divides Western Europe into northern and southern portions. The Alps mountain range curves all the way from the French-Italian border near the Mediterranean Sea, fills most of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and extends into Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.

The French Alps in particular, border both France and Switzerland. Regardless of the fact that they are not as well-known as their Swiss counterparts, they also afford magnificent views year-round. The French Alps are renowned for their stunning scenery, complete with beautiful mountains, rolling foothills, and pristine lakes and rivers. Europe’s tallest and most famous mountain, the Mont Blanc, is situated in the French Alps bordering on Italy.

The snow-covered Alps in France attract a host of people who come to ski or just enjoy the awesome scenery. Although the French Alps draw its unique fame from its ski trails, there are also many magnificent hiking trails to enjoy during the summer time. On a recent summer trip to La Plagne, a ski resort neighborhood in the French Alps, I stood in awe of the stunning snow-capped mountains there.

Tucked amongst the Alps are various glaciers. Glaciers differ from regular snow covered mountains. They are usually mountains, of higher altitude, in which the snow accumulates and freezes into ice. A glacier is not always recognizable from the exterior since it is often covered with fresh layers of snow.

La Plange

Many glaciers across the European Alps have in recent years begun housing incredible ice caves. The French Alps in particular had two mountain guides who came up with the idea of building an ice cave on a glacier in 1992. Their project took off immediately. The next year they decided to hire professional sculptors to create sculptures within the ice caves for public viewing. Due to the tremendous success of this venture, another four ice caves with sculptures were opened. Each ice cave has a central theme. To date, there are six ice caves in the French Alps. The ice caves are especially created at very high altitudes where the temperatures are low year-round to ensure that the sculptures stay frozen.

During my stay in La Plagne, I went to visit one such ice cave or Grotte de Glace as the French call it. In order to get to the cave, we first took one cable car about halfway up. Then we switched to a second cable car. There isn’t enough power in the cars for them to reach the full attitude without stopping. At the station where the two cable cars met, we were almost knocked over by the most unbelievable view of the surrounding mountains, including the famous Mont Blanc.

Ice Sculptures of animals in the Grotte de Glace in La Plagne. A goat, fox and deer.

The Grotte de Glace in La Plagne was built in 2005 on the Summit of Bellecôte glacier which is 3,417 meters (11, 210 feet) high. It houses a gallery with several rooms and is home to spectacular sculptures directly carved into the ice. The cave is approximately 150 meters long featuring the masterpieces in translucent shades blue. The sculptures are of various different life-sized animals, including a fox, bear, deer, and even a huge elephant.

Each year thousands of people visit the Grotte de Glace in La Plagne to enjoy the exceptional beauty of the unique sculptures.

 

Compiled and Photographed by S.Y. Einhorn

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/travel/the-height-of-beauty/2012/11/19/

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