Swiss police search for six missing skiers near Matterhorn

FILE PHOTO: Tourists take a picture in front of the Matterhorn mountain at the Gornergrat in Zermatt

GENEVA (Reuters) -Police in Switzerland's Valais canton on Sunday were searching for six people who went missing during a ski tour that departed from the Alpine town of Zermatt.

The skiers, five of them members of the same family, went missing around Tête Blanche mountain on Saturday on the Zermatt-Arolla path, near the Matterhorn mountain that straddles the border between Switzerland and Italy, police said.

"The storm raging in the south of the Alps and the risk of avalanches has prevented helicopters and rescuers from approaching the area," the police said.

Police said the missing skiers were between the ages of 21 and 58. Five belonged to one family from the Valais canton, while the sixth person is from the canton of Fribourg.

Zermatt is a popular mountain resort renowned for skiing and attracts tourists from around the world.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Denis Balibouse; Editing by Louise Heavens and Tomasz Janowski)