An avalanche in the region of Salzburg, Austria, on Saturday left three dead and two injured, skiers who were off-piste, said the Austrian Red Cross.

The tragedy occurred around 2,400 meters above sea level in the Lungau district, shortly after 1:45 p.m. local time, its spokesman, Anton Schilcher, told the APA news agency.

A total of eight skiers in the group were buried up to 4.5 meters in snow, Christoph Wiedl, the local emergency response manager, told local media.

Two of the victims were already lifeless when their bodies were found, while a third died after being airlifted to hospital in Klagenfurt.

In recent years, avalanches have killed an average of 20 people a year in Austria.

The last two seasons have been less deadly, as the pandemic caused by the coronavirus has reduced the number of skiers in the mountains.

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