ROME, March 2 (Xinhua) -- An avalanche Thursday hit a group of freeride skiers in the Aosta Valley region, in the north of Italy, leaving three people dead and others injured, according to local media.
An Italian, a Belgian and a German lost their life. Among the injured are Italian and German citizens. The avalanche occurred in Val Veny, near the town of Courmayeur.
The group was composed of 18 people of different nationalities. Some skiers reportedly saved themselves by activating an airbag. Injured were sent to an Aosta hospital.
Rescue operations were carried out by Aosta Valley Mountain Rescue operators, specialized teams of the financial police and the armed police, doctors and two helicopters.
Adriano Favre, head of the Aosta Valley Mountain Rescue, told the daily La Repubblica that the group might be too large for the current weather conditions, that include a strong and hot wind.
Another avalanche hit the region in the Colle San Carlo area. Two ski mountaineers were involved but escaped safely.