Three killed in avalanche at Italian ski resort

Three killed in avalanche at Italian ski resort
File photo of a rescue helicopter at Courmayeur: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP
At least three people were dead, two were missing and several others injured after two avalanches in off-piste sections of the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur on Thursday, rescuers said.

Around 20 skiers, all non-Italians, were in the area where the first snow slide occurred just before 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) in the middle of what is one of the busiest weeks of the year for skiing in the Alps, according to media reports.

A second avalanche followed an hour later in a different area, engulfing two off-piste skiers, according to the reports.

“The (first) avalanche killed three, injured three people who were taken to hospital by helicopter and left two slightly hurt,” alpine rescuers said in a statement. “All were skiing off piste.”

The avalanche risk had been put at three on a one-five scale as a result of fresh snowfalls and high winds which led to build-up of drifts in certain spots.

Courmayeur is located in northwestern Italy and is famed for its challenging skiing on the southern slopes of Mont Blanc.

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