Martin Lyngdal / AFP - Getty Images
The avalanche area in northern Norway is seen late Monday.
OSLO, Norway -- Five skiers were killed on Monday when a large avalanche in Norway's High Arctic region engulfed a group of downhill enthusiasts, Norwegian police said. Four were Swiss and one was French.
A sixth member of the group, who was Swiss, was pulled alive from the snow and reported to be in stable condition at a regional hospital.
They had been on Sorbmegaisa, a steep mountain 75 miles east of the city of Tromsoe in an area popular with backcountry skiers and snowboarders, when the snow broke loose.
"We have found all six persons who were taken by the avalanche, and five of them were confirmed dead," said Troms district police spokesman Thorstein Skogvang.
While the survivor was found close to the surface the others were buried as much as 20 feet deep, Skogvang said.
They had been part of a group of 12 when the avalanche occurred some 3,000 feet above the nearby Lyngen Fjord, officials said.
Those who escaped began digging for their fellow skiers and were joined by people from a nearby lodge as well as by Norway's Joint Rescue Coordination Center and other groups.
More from msnbc.com and NBC News:
- Four killed in shooting at Jewish school in France
- Artist Ai Weiwei slips, briefly, through China censors
- American killed in Yemen 'highly respected' Islam
- Cuba detains 70 'Ladies in White' ahead of Pope visit
- Report: 'I am the real dictator,' wife of Syria's Bashar Assad says
- American reportedly held hostage in Iraq released
Follow us on Twitter: @msnbc_world