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3 skiers killed after avalanche hits Italian Alps

March 02, 2017; 11:57 AM

Three skiers were killed and another five were injured after an avalanche struck the northern Italian Alps on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

The incident occurred near the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur around midday local time. An official with the national alpine rescue corps told the AP that the group had been back-country skiing.

One of the injured who was not identified is in critical condition, according to local media.

Around 8 inches of snow reportedly fell on Tuesday at Courmayeur, according to onthesnow.com. No additional snow was reported on Wednesday.

alps rescue

An alpine rescue helicopter is shown coming to a landing on Sept. 9, 2016. Rescue efforts were underway on Wednesday, March 2 after an avalanche killed three people and injured five others near Courmayeur, Italy. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The resort is located in northwestern Italy.

"Periods of snow will develop on Friday with heavy snow and strong winds threatening to halt rescue and recovery operations if they continue on Saturday," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

How to stay safe when venturing into avalanche terrain
Italy weather
Italy radar

According to The Local, the avalanche risk had been put at a three on a one to five scale as a result of the recent snowfall and high winds, which led to build-up of drifts in certain spots.

A second avalanche occurred about an hour later in a different area, affecting two other skiers, but they did not need to be rescued, the AP said.

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