Russian rescue workers have evacuated a group of tourists hit by an avalanche in the northeast Siberian republic of Yakutia, a member of the emergency services said on Wednesday.

Two members of the group, including the leader, died yesterday when they were struck by the avalanche.

"At 9:30 a.m. local time [00:30 GMT] a Mi-8 helicopter carrying the injured tourists and the bodies of the deceased took off from the village of Tyopliye Klyuchi."

He added that the condition of five of the surviving tourists was satisfactory, but that another was suffering from injuries, the extent of which would be ascertained upon arrival in Yakutsk, the capital of the republic.

The group of tourists had been on a planned month long skiing expedition in the area when the incident occurred.