Relatives of six backcountry skiers who were killed in an avalanche in the Italian Alps have paid their final respects as investigators piece together how such a huge block of snow could have dislodged.

The bodies of the dead were laid out Sunday at the tiny chapel in Campo Tures, close to the Austrian border in Italy's Alto Adige region. The dead and the nine survivors were helicoptered down from near the top of Monte Nevoso's 3,350-meter (11,000-foot) peak after Saturday's avalanche.

As relatives said goodbye, Carabinieri police flew by helicopter over the site to try to ascertain what triggered it. Alpine experts said it was likely the result of a new batch of snow that appeared to have simply slipped off the base snow from earlier in the season.