Avalanche in French Alps Kills at Least 3 Skiers, Officials Say

PHOTO: A picture taken shows the French Alps on Dec. 23, 2013. AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken shows the French Alps on Dec. 23, 2013.

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

Christian Flagella, the commander of the gendarmerie police force in the Haute Alpes region, said at a news conference today that the three individuals were part of a larger group of 11 skiers.

Four members of the group were swept away by the avalanche, and three are now dead. A fourth remains in critical condition.

The names and ages of the individuals have not been released.

Local official Pierre Besnard told reporters that the group was "most likely Austrians but we are waiting to interrogate the survivors to know for sure."

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, but adventurous skiers have to hike up the mountain in order to ski down. The area has also received heavy snow for the past two days.

This would be the second tragedy in the mountain range in just eight days after a Germanwings flight crashed killing all 150 on board.