Five persons were missing while three others were injured when an avalanche hit a cluster of houses in Kafnu village in Himachal Pradesh's tribal Kinnaur village, 190 km from Shimla, on Wednesday.
Eight houses collapsed in the avalanche and initial reports said eight persons were missing but later it was found that three persons trapped inside the collapsed house at Moranung Nallah in the village were alive but injured.
It was difficult to locate the houses as the entire area was covered under four feet of snow and approach to the village had been blocked, officials said.
Moranung Nallah being an avalanche prone area, six families had vacated their houses sensing the avalanche threat but families of Sarla Devi, a widow and Birman Chand were inside when the calamity struck.
Later Birman, his wife and daughter were found trapped in the ground floor of the building. They were in the upper storey but had rushed to the ground floor and survived as the upper storey collapsed.
Kinnaur deputy commissioner JM Pathania said that a local panchayat panch had informed the authorities that an avalanche had struck near village Kafnu and relief and rescue teams were immediately rushed to the spot.
The entire tribal belt is experiencing heavy snowfall for the past three days and normal life had been completely paralysed as all the highways and link roads were blocked due to snow and even pedestrian movement within tribal valleys has come to a halt.
The higher reaches in the state and mid hills including state capital Shimla are experiencing intermittent heavy snowfall since last night and various parts of the town recorded 15 to 30 cm of snow till Wednesday morning.
The tribal Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur districts and tribal areas of Pangi and Bharmaur are also experiencing heavy snowfall for past three days and all schools have been closed in Lahaul and Spiti district for three days.
The MeT office has warned of avalanche threat in high altitude tribal areas and district authorities have advised the people not to venture out till the hostile weather conditions and snowstorm subsides.
The piercing cold wave sweeping the region has further intensified and snowfall and strong velocity icy winds have forced people to stay indoors.
However, the snowfall has brought cheers to skiers who are thronging ski slopes at Solang Nallah, where a winter carnival is to commence from February 9.