(Edited from AP, Paris) Engineers in France have started work to drain an immense lake that has built up under an Alpine glacier on Mont Blanc, an attempt to prevent a repeat of a flood that killed 175 people more than 100 years ago.

Specialists are drilling into the glacier as part of preparations to slowly pump out the 65,000 cubic meters (2,275,000 cubic feet) of liquid believed trapped beneath the Tete Rousse glacier, the mayor of the Alpine town of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains said Wednesday. The amount of water is equivalent to about 26 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

(Edited from AP, Paris) Engineers in France have started work to drain an immense lake that has built up under an Alpine glacier on Mont Blanc, an attempt to prevent a repeat of a flood that killed 175 people more than 100 years ago.

Specialists are drilling into the glacier as part of preparations to slowly pump out the 65,000 cubic meters (2,275,000 cubic feet) of liquid believed trapped beneath the Tete Rousse glacier, the mayor of the Alpine town of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains said Wednesday. The amount of water is equivalent to about 26 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The nearly euro2 million ($2.5 million) delicate operation in the area well-known for its climbing and skiing is going smoothly so far, and pumping is expected to start imminently and last until October, Mayor Jean-Marc Peillex told The Associated Press.

The glacier is situated 3,200 meters (10,560 feet) up Mont Blanc, and is on the most popular paths for climbers scaling Western Europe’s highest peak.

Scientists studying the glacier informed local authorities about the trapped water in March. Since then, officials have shut down part of a tram route used by Mont Blanc climbers and installed an alarm system in case of flooding. If it goes off, residents have between 10 to 30 minutes to evacuate.

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