Swiss police say five people have been injured after being caught by an avalanche in the Saentis mountain region near the city of Appenzell.

Appenzell police said in a statement the accident happened Saturday afternoon when masses of snow came down from a mountain slope and pulled the hikers between 80-100 meters (88-109 yards) down.

Three helicopters were involved in the rescue of the people who were then taken to surrounding hospitals.

Police said three of the five were severely injured. They did not release their identities, but said all five of them were adults.