The Vincendon and Henry Tragedy
- December 22, 1956 : Jean VINCENDON and François HENRY leave the Aiguille du Midi for a winter climbing of the Mont Blanc by the spur of Brenva.
- 26 Décembre 9h00 : no news of the two mountaineers. The Gendarmerie squad of Chamonix is informed but the weather conditions prohibit any air or terrestrial intervention.
- 27 December : the Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) engages in the rescue a helicopter S-55 (H-19) of the Division of Instruction on Helicopter of the School Base 725 of Le Bourget du Lac (France).
- 28 December : the weather conditions improve the afternoon, but S-55 does not locate the mountaineers in perdition.
- 29 December : Colonel NOLLET organizes an operation engaging 2 helicopters, a S-55 and a S-58 (H-34) controlled by squadron leader SANTINI and warrant officer BLANC accompanied by 2 mountain guides Honoré BONNET and Charles GERMAN.
- December 30 : the weather conditions make impossible any air intervention.
- 31 December : the operation decided the 29 is possible starting from 12h30. 31 December, 13h10, the drama : Sikorsky S-58 (H-34) s/n 377 crashed near the mountaineers in the locality "La Combe Maudite". The 4 occupants are indemnes. The first-aid workers install untransportable VINCENDON and HENRY in the wreck of the helicopter and lead SANTINI and BLANC towards the Vallot refuge. BLANC is wounded seriously during a fall in a crack.
- January 2, 1957, 14h15: 2 Alouette II, blocked by the bad weather in Valence, join Chamonix.
- January 3, 9h00: the Alouette II take off from Chamonix. 9h10, the Alouette are landed, in turn, near the Vallot refuge and evacuate the crew of the S-58 as well as the guides. 10h50, Alouette II fly over the S-58 wreck : no sign of life on board. 11h30, the rescue operation is declared finished.
- 19 and 20 Mars 1957 : a forwarding take down the bodies of mountaineers VINCENDON and HENRY.
The complete history of this mountain tragedy is reported in details in the book of Jean-René Belliard and René Romet "Secours Extrème" Collection "L'aventure vécue".
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