27/03/2017 4:10 PM AEDT | Updated 27/03/2017 10:44 PM AEDT

Eight Students Feared Dead In Avalanche At Japan Ski Resort

They were found unconscious without vital signs.

The students were participating in a climbing exercise at the time of the fall.

Eight high school students have been found unconscious without vital signs, feared dead, after being caught in an avalanche that hit a ski resort in Central Japan on Monday.

More than 60 students were participating in a mountain climbing exercise at the Nasu Onsen ski resort in the Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, when the incident occurred at around 9.20am local time.

Rescue officials told local media eight students had been found unconscious but are feared dead, according to The Guardian. Japanese authorities have previously acted cautiously when describing deaths prior to a doctor's confirmation.

Three further students were deemed missing early on Monday along with an an instructor they were with during the exercise.

The incident came after heavy snowfalls in the region, with 33cm of snow falling between midnight and 9am, according to local Japanese meteorological data.

Huge rescue efforts are currently underway to determine the extent of injuries and damage and to locate the missing students, Fairfax reports.