"The helicopter, a powerful Nikoyan MI-17, was able to follow the route up to 7400m, and carried out many journeys" explains Serge Koenig who is coordinating the operation for the ministery of youth and sport. "The tent of his final camp was seen, but there was no sign of life at all. We must now accept the evidence. There is nothing else that can be done."
When JCL left for the summit after his final communication with his wife Katia, temperatures below -30 deg C held sway above 8000m, with a wind of 40-50km/h according to his advisor Yann Giezendanner. In such conditions, living beings degrade very quickly. The chance of survival is measured in hours, not days - there are sadly numerous examples, and JCL knew that better than most.
Thanks for tchnorton at the UKClimbing.com forums for the above translation. There is more news at Mount Everest.net