By Klaus Blume, dpa
Rome (dpa) – An adult and two children from Germany were killed in an avalanche in Italy’s mountainous South Tyrol region on Saturday, according to police.
The avalanche happened at the Schnals ski resort, west of the city of Merano, a Carabinieri spokesman said.
He added that the risk of an avalanche had not been considered imminent, though there were strong winds and a rise in temperature.
A woman and 7-year-old girl were found dead at the scene. Another child succumbed to her injuries after being transported by helicopter to a hospital in Trento, police said.
The child who was flown for treatment to Trento was the daughter of the woman who died at the scene, according to local broadcaster Rai.
Germany’s foreign office confirmed the nationality of the three victims.
Two people – A German man and his 11-year-old son – were freed from the snow and sent to a Merano hospital with moderate injuries.
Rescue officials were searching for other survivors at the scene. It was not clear Saturday night if more people were buried by the shifting snow, a spokesman for the emergency services said.
He added that it would likely be decided early Sunday morning whether to continue the search.
The snow slab was some 200 metres wide and one kilometre long, local broadcaster Rai reported.
An Italian skier had been caught up in another avalanche on Saturday at the Hirzer mountain, also in South Tyrol, but was rescued by other skiers, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported.