Tourist in Flip-Flops Rescued from Top of 4,500 ft Mountain by Emergency Services

A Belgian tourist who reportedly hiked up a large French mountain in a pair of flip-flops this week sparked a rescue operation after spraining her ankle.

Emergency services deployed to the French Alps by air yesterday in a rescue helicopter known as "Dragon 74," amid reports of a woman who needed assistance on the Dent du Chat—a mountain in the Savoie region which stands at roughly 4,560 ft above sea level.

The woman, believed to be in her 40s, was accompanied by a friend when the helicopter made contact at approximately 4:30 p.m., according to French daily newspaper Le Dauphiné libéré. It emerged the tourist twisted her foot on a rock while attempting to descend the mountain.

The woman was evacuated by air and taken to a hospital in Chambéry, an Alpine city in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. The identities of those involved have not been made public.

While the hiker's injury has not been confirmed in detail, Le Parisien newspaper reported she had been unable to walk by herself following the incident. The emergency services helicopter dropped in from the top of the mountain and successfully attached a splint to the tourist.

French media has stressed the importance of wearing the correct equipment when hiking up the mountain. Le Dauphiné libéré reported the woman's injury "will not surprise anyone."

RTL Info, a French-language news outlet based in Brussels, reported the rescue team had been "annoyed" by the flip-flops and noted they had been "very inappropriate" for hiking.

Shockingly, it is not the first time a tourist has attempted such a climb while wearing the summer footwear instead of proper hiking boots. Back in 2014, a man in flip-flops had to be rescued from a peak in Scotland after injuring his ankle, as reported by the BBC at the time.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue responded to the Aonach Mòr mountain, finding three unprepared Asian tourists. While one had been wearing a pair of trainers, the other was barefoot. The men said they went to the area to see snow, The Press and Journal newspaper reported.

"They said they wanted to stand on snow in Scotland. We don't know if they actually did. The grass was wet enough to have an accident–especially in flip-flops," rescue team leader John Stevenson told the paper after the June rescue operation.

"I know in some countries they wear flip-flops to climb hills but we told them next time they come back to Scotland to stand on snow they should wear something more appropriate, like a good pair of boots," Stevenson added. " We see all sorts but having flip-flops is asking for trouble and that is exactly what this lad found."

Dragon 74
The rescue helicopter service in Savoie, known as Dragon 74, responded yesterday after a hiker in flip flops twisted her ankle, French media reports. Dragon 74/Facebook