CHAMONIX, France - An avalanche swept over a group of European climbers in the French Alps on Thursday, killing at least nine people and leaving four missing. Rescuers said they had suspended their search for the four unaccounted for following the early morning avalanche on Mont Maudit, which translates as “Cursed Mountain”, but that it would likely resume on Friday. “The avalanche zone has been entirely surveyed. The searches will resume tomorrow depending on the weather,” local police Colonel Bertrand Francois said. Francois said nine people were known to have died in the accident: three Britons, three Germans, two Spaniards and a Swiss. The four missing climbers were believed to be two Britons and two Spaniards, officials said. Nine more climbers were lightly injured and treated at a local hospital. After flying over the scene in a helicopter, Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned that it may not be possible to recover the missing climbers. “The mountain does not always release its victims,” Valls told a press conference. “Searches will probably continue of course, under ice and snow conditions that are difficult.” Asked about the cause of the accident, Valls said: “The investigation is beginning under the authority of prosecutors.” Italian rescuers were brought in to assist France’s PGHM high-mountain group in the search in the Mont Blanc massif at a height of more than 4,000 metres (13,100 feet).