At least eight people were missing after a avalanche in a Swiss mountain town near the Italian border, police said on Thursday.

The avalanche occurred on Wednesday in the alpine village of Bondo whose 100 residents were promptly evacuated, after which the main road was closed off, reports Efe news.

“In the area of Val Bondasca, eight people who were there at the time of the avalanche could not be reached,” the police said.

“Six of these eight people were reported missing by relatives. The search for them was intensified during the night… A Swiss Army helicopter was also used. The missing persons are nationals from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.”

Meanwhile, police requested a no-fly zone over the area to facilitate search-and-rescue efforts by emergency helicopters.

As of Thursday, the evacuees were not allowed to return to their homes and provided temporary shelter in neighbouring towns.

Bondo is located in a deep valley next to the Swiss-Italian border in the Val Bregaglia, on the slopes of the Piz Cengalo mountain, which has an elevation of 3,369 metres.

On December 28, 2011, around 1.5 million cubic metres of rock broke away from Piz Cengalo, causing a massive avalanche in the vicinity.