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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Avalanche kills three in alpine region where Germanwings' flight crashed

A group of 11 skiers were swept away when the avalanche struck
A group of 11 skiers were swept away when the avalanche struck
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Three people have been killed and several more injured in a massive avalanche less than 75 miles from where Germanwings' flight 9525 crashed killing all 150 on board.

At least three skiers have died due to the avalanche in the French Alps, according to local officials.

The trio were part of a larger group that was were swept away. A fourth member remains in critical condition.

It has been reported that seven of the skiers are currently holed up in a refuge building at an altitude of about 3,500 meters.

The avalanche occurred 75 miles north of where French and German recovery teams are working to collect the debris from Flight 9525.

All 150 people on board the flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf were killed in the disaster - thought to have been cause deliberately by the flight's co-pilot Andreas Lubitz.

Read More: Video of last moments on doomed Germanwings plane found on mobile phone memory card at crash site

It is believed that the group is from Austria but French police said they are waiting to speak to the survivors before they confirm the group's origin.

Specialist mountain police rescue teams along with sniffer dogs were dispatched to the scene.

Witnesses quoted by France 3 Alpes said the avalanche was "spectacular" and occurred above the town of Villar d'Arène.

The specific area of the avalanche has not been confirmed but an employee at a nearby chalet told ABC News that the area is known for off-piste skiing, meaning that there are no official slopes.

More to come...

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