An avalanche in the French Alps has left seven people dead, including three Germans. Rescue teams are continuing search operations for possible missing persons at the popular climbing destination Massif des Ecrins.
At least seven people on Tuesday were killed when a freak late-summer avalanche struck in the French Alps' Massif des Ecrins national park.
Rescue teams - including two helicopters - are searching for possible survivors who may have been swept away in the natural disaster.
"The toll has increased - seven people have died," said Pierre Besnard, an official of the Hautes-Alpes region. At first he had said that five were dead with two injured.
At least three of the victims were German, while two others were Czech, a prosecutor from the Alpine town of Gap told AFP news agency.
The Dome de Neige ("Snow Dome") in the Ecrins park is an easy-to-access 4,015-meter (13,170 feet) mountain, known for its popularity among climbers and adventurers.
While avalanches are common enough in the Hautes-Alpes region of the French Alps - having claimed 29 lives last winter - the phenomenon is more rare in summer months.
Earlier this year, nine people - including three Germans - died when an avalanche struck on Mont Maudit, part of the Mont Blanc range.
ls/msh (AFP, AP, dpa)