PARIS — A 25-year-old British snowboarder has suffocated to death after falling head-first into a snowdrift in the French Alps.

The local mountain guide service said Saturday that two witnesses alerted rescuers after spotting a snowboard sticking out of the snow in an off-piste area near the resort of Meribel. An official with the guide service said the man apparently was trapped for up to half an hour before he was spotted.

The man was in cardiac arrest when the time rescuers arrived, according to the guide service.

The victim, a seasonal worker at the Meribel resort, was apparently alone when he fell Wednesday. An investigation is under way.

Some 15 people have been killed in avalanches or ski accidents in the French Alps this year.