Geneva: Swiss mountain rescue teams have hurriedly pulled out four people who were buried in a mid-afternoon avalanche at the popular ski resort of Crans-Montana and are still searching for others.
(L-R) director of Crans-Montana lifts (CMA) Philippe Magistretti, Head of Police du Valais Christian Varone, county councillor Frederic Favre, Director of Organisation Cantonale Valaisanne des Secours (OCVS) Jean-Marc Bellagamba, and prosecutor Catherine Seppey attend a news conference following an avalanche in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, February 19, 2019.
According to regional daily Le Nouvelliste, numerous local sources had claimed that as many as ten to 12 people may have been hit by the avalanche.
Skiers could be seen around the area of snow which had become displaced and go down the mountain, in an area which has seen temperatures rise in recent weeks.
Police and rescue teams are continuing the search for survivors after digging four people out from under the snow. The police statement did not specify whether the people buried under the snow were skiers.
Plaine-Morte, at an altitude of about 3,000 metres (9,800 feet), is the highest ski track at the Crans-Montana resort. Rescue dogs had not found anyone during a first search, he added.
"About 100 rescue workers are on the site", he said in a telephone interview.
MSN.com said that usually most deadly avalanches in Switzerland occur in places that are away from conventional ski runs. The resort was scheduled to host two women's races this weekend. Britain's Blackheath High School tweeted that all its students on a ski trip in the area were safe.