OSLO (Reuters) - Four Swiss skiers and a French one were killed on Monday when a large avalanche in Norway's High Arctic region engulfed a group of downhill enthusiasts, Norwegian police said.
A sixth member of the group, who was Swiss, was pulled alive from the snow and reported to be in stable condition at a regional hospital.
They had been on Sorbmegaisa, a steep mountain 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of the city of Tromsoe in an area popular with off-piste skiers and snowboarders, when the snow broke loose at about 1330 GMT.
"We have found all six persons who were taken by the avalanche, and five of them were confirmed dead," said Troms district police spokesman Thorstein Skogvang.
While the survivor was found close to the surface the others were buried as much as six metres deep, Skogvang said.
They had been part of a group of 12 when the avalanche occurred some 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) above the nearby Lyngen Fjord, officials said. Sorbmegaisa is 1,288 metres high.
Those who escaped began digging for their fellow skiers and were joined by people from a nearby lodge as well as by Norway's Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and other groups.
(Reporting by Walter Gibbs; Editing by Hugh Lawson)