An avalanche on Tuesday in the popular Swiss ski resort of Crans-Montana buried several people, local police said.
A tremor happened at 2.23pm local time with the resulting avalanche tumbling down the slopes of the picturesque resort seconds later.
Between 10 to 12 people were believed to be trapped under the snow, according to local newspaper The Nouvelliste.
Rescue and recovery teams are on the scene. Rescue services were on the spot to assist several people who had been buried, it added.
Emergency workers said there had not been heavy snowfall in the area, but the snow was compact and wet, hampering rescue efforts.
Vizzino said such avalanches were rare in the area, known for its skiing.
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Prosecutor Catherine Seppey said that an investigation had been opened.
Rescuers were searching for people with the aid of dogs and helicopters, the BBC reported.
Philippe Magistretti, president of the resort's ski lift company, told the Reuters news agency that members of the army were among dozens at the scene.
The Crans-Montana resort has not confirmed any reports about the number of people affected or their conditions.
The avalanche struck during school holidays in much of Europe, so the slopes would have been busy.
Marius Robyr, in charge of organizing the races, was quoted in Tuesday's Tribune de Geneve, before the avalanche, as saying there was 1 to 1.5 meters of snow on La Nationale ski piste.