Six people dead in Italian Alps avalanche

Avalanche hits skiers in South Tyrol

Six people dead in Italian Alps avalanche

Six people have died after an avalanche in the Italian Alps.

Six skiers lost their lives in the avalanche, which hit on Saturday not far below Monte Nevoso's peak in South Tyrol, reports the Metro.

See also: What it's like to escape an avalanche (video)

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The victims included five Italian nationals, one of whom was only 16, and an Austrian woman.

They were among a group of backcountry skiers who were going towards the mountain crest and then skiing down.

Survivors called rescue teams, and three helicopters were sent to the scene. Dozens of search and rescue workers also used poles and sniffer dogs to search for possible victims and survivors buried under the snow.

High altitude complicated the rescue. According to the Guardian, Rafael Kostner, the head of the rescue operation, told the news agency Ansa: "The helicopters are having difficulty safely reaching altitudes above 3,000 metres.

"They fly with very little fuel and all unnecessary gear is left on the ground."

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