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World Cup skier and his girlfriend fall to their deaths on mountain

A World Cup skier and his girlfriend died when they fell about 2,300ft in a mountain accident in Italy, according to local media.

Jean Daniel Pession, a 28-year-old member of the Italian national speed skiing team, and Elisa Arlian, a 26-year-old ski instructor and school teacher, died “in a tragic mountain accident,” a news release from the Italian Winter Sports Federation (FISI) said.

The accident happened on Mount Zerbion, above the resort village of Champoluc in the Aosta Valley region.

The couple had left in the early morning to reach a peak they both knew, but when they failed to return their family alerted rescuers, Italian media outlet Rai reported.

Helicopters were sent out immediately, but with no signs on the rocks as to where they had fallen, the search took hours.

Rescuers used their cellphone signal to pinpoint where they were, and found them tied together, which is common for mountain scalers to do.

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The search involved teams from alpine rescue, police and firefighters, Rai reported.

Aosta Valley’s regional council president Alberto Bertin said it was a “moment of profound sadness”.

“Two young lives destroyed by an accident on a mountain, that mountain which was their passion.”

Mr Pession placed 15th in the final World Cup ranking for 2021 and finished 22nd in the speed skiing competition at the 2022 World Championships.

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