An avalanche in the French Alps has swept five climbers to their deaths and left two missing.
Pierre Besnard, prefect of the Hautes-Alpes region, said that the avalanche hit three groups of climbers on the highly travelled dome of the Ecrins massif, which reaches 4,000 metres, near the town of Pelvoux.
He said foreign climbers were among the dead but offered no details.
Mr Besnard said search and rescue teams, including two helicopters, are in the area. One climber was gravely injured.
General library picture of French Alps