Swiss police: 3 killed in avalanche, 1 missing

Geneva: Three people were killed on Saturday and one person was missing after they were caught in an avalanche near the southern border with Italy, Swiss police said.

Local police spokesman Jean-Marie Bornet said a total of 11 people, believed to be French citizens on a back-country skiing trip, were initially buried by the avalanche. Six people were rescued and have been taken to the hospital with injuries.

Rescuers were alerted shortly after noon by one member of the group who was able to free himself, Bornet said. A vast search operation that included helicopters was launched.

The incident happened on the 12,200-foot (3,730-meter) Mont Velan in the Pennine Alps near the Swiss-Italian border.

Switzerland`s National Avalanche Center warned of a "considerable" risk of snowslides in the region today.

In January 2010, six people died in an avalanche in another region, Diemtigtal, and a doctor who went to help was swept away in a second avalanche.