A large avalanche in the Austrian Alps killed at least five skiing enthusiasts from the Czech Republic on Saturday, police said.
The snow buried 17 people in total, all Czech nationals on a skiing holiday near the Tyrolean capital Innsbruck, when the avalanche hit at 12:45 pm (1145 GMT).
Police did not reveal how many people were still trapped under the snow and it is feared that the death toll could rise.
Police in Tyrol have scheduled a press conference late Saturday afternoon, when further details are expected.
Another skier had seen the avalanche from a distance and alerted the emergency services, local officials said. Rescue teams are searching for survivors with the help of specially trained dogs and four helicopters have been deployed to the scene of the accident.
The risk of avalanches in Tyrol on Saturday was significant at level three on the five-point hazard scale. Slabs of snow had also become loose and buried skiers in the German Alps, most of whom were able to free themselves.