The mountains in Tyrol. File photo: Cristian Bortes
The identity of the victims has not yet been officially confirmed by the Swiss foreign office, however local Austrian paper Tiroler Tageszeitung said the group of eight ski-tourers, four of whom died, were Swiss.
A Tyrol police spokesman confirmed that the group were from German-speaking Switzerland, reported Le Matin.
The avalanche occurred shortly after midday on the 2,450m Jochgrub mountain above the village of Schmirn and was described by the head of the avalanche alarm service as being “of gigantic proportions”.
“It is likely the group triggered the avalanche themselves,” Rudi Mair told the Tiroler Tageszeitung.
Four of the group survived, while three bodies were pulled out of the snow. The fourth victim’s body was recovered several hours later under 12 metres of snow, according to the paper.
According to Swiss daily Blick, the group came from the villages of Brittnau and Strengelbach in the Swiss canton of Aargau.
The eight ski tourers had left for Tyrol last Saturday and were due to return on Friday, said the paper.
Speaking to the paper, the mayor of Brittnau Astrid Haller said it was “very tragic for the community” and that the two villages were in shock.