Italian rescue services were called into action early yesterday afternoon after an avalanche on the Val Veny side of the Courmayeur ski area.
According to reports around 18 freeride skiers were skiing off-piste in the Couloir des Espagnoles near the Plan de la Gabba lift when the avalanche struck at around 1pm.
Three skiers, a Belgian, a German and an Italian sadly lost their lives. Some skiers were saved thanks to their airbags. Five other people were dug out of the snow and taken to hospital in Aosta.
Witnesses said the area looked like a 'battle scene' with people trying to dig out those affected, with rescue helicopters flying above to aid the search.