Italian Alps avalanche kills six near Monte Nevoso

Rescuers arrive close to the place where an avalanche came down in the Ahrn valley (Ahrntal) in South Tyrol, Italy, 12 March 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mountain rescue teams and ambulances drove as close as they could to the site

At least six skiers have been killed in an avalanche in the Italian Alps, with several others possibly missing or injured.

The avalanche struck at an altitude of more than 3,000m (9,800ft), on Monte Nevoso in the Ahrntal in South Tyrol.

The area is near the Austrian border, around 70km (43 miles) from Bolzano.

Local news site Alto Adige reported that three helicopters had been used to take mountain rescue teams and specialist avalanche dogs to the scene.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Helicopters were used in the rescue effort

The group were ski mountaineers, according to reports, who climb up mountains and then ski down.

The skiers were of various nationalities, including Italians, said Alto Adige.

Wounded people were being taken to hospital by ambulance after being evacuated by helicopter, it reported.

It is unclear how many have survived, or whether everyone had been accounted for.

The head of the rescue mission, Rafael Kostner, told Italian media that the high altitude was complicating the rescue.

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