Three foreign tourists — two Austrians and an Italian — have died in an avalanche in the French Alps, and a fourth tourist has been taken by helicopter to a hospital in Grenoble with unspecified injuries.

Hautes-Alpes department officials said that the snow slide took place mid-afternoon Wednesday in the Ecrins massif, near the town of Briancon, as a group of skiers — all non-French nationals — were travelling along a mountain.

Officials say that seven of the skiers are currently holed up in a refuge building nearby at an altitude of about 3,500 meters (11,500 feet), and will stay there overnight until emergency services are able to rescue them.