France shooting: Annecy gun victims 'were UK tourists'

French gendarmes block the road leading to the scene where four people died near Annecy Lake, eastern France, on Wednesday
Image caption The driver of the car was a British citizen, police have confirmed

Three of the four victims of a shooting in a quiet area near Lake Annecy in the French Alps appear to have been British tourists, a local official has said.

The bodies of two women and a man were found in a British-registered BMW car. The fourth person killed was a cyclist.

A prosecutor said the identity of the man - described as the father - had been "almost certainly" established.

Two young girls were found alive, one eight hours after the deaths. The other is in a critical condition in hospital.

Officials said the cyclist was a resident of a neighbouring area.

Police have confirmed that the driver of the car was a UK citizen, and they now believe all those dead in the vehicle were part of a British family on holiday.

Child 'lay still'

Prosecutor Eric Maillaud told AFP news agency the two women victims were yet to be definitively identified. He said a four-year-old girl was discovered hidden under the bodies around midnight (22:00 GMT). She is thought to have kept still for up to eight hours.

Mr Maillaud said the family was on holiday camping on the edge of Lake Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region, which is a popular tourist destination known for its swimming and water sports.

Another cyclist who came across the scene at about 16:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Wednesday was said to be in shock.

The UK Foreign Office said it was looking into the shootings urgently and that consular staff were at the scene working with the French authorities.

The area has now been sealed off by some 60 police, who have started a criminal investigation into what they are calling a multiple murder.

One girl was initially reported to have died of her injuries but AFP later said Mr Maillaud, who had announced her death, had issued a correction.

He now says the child, thought to be aged eight, is in a critical condition in intensive care in Grenoble.

The car park where the bodies were found is in a quiet, forested area in the foothills of the Alps.

The two women's bodies were in the back of the car, while the man's was in the front.

A large number of spent cartridges are said to have been found on the ground around the BMW.

The BBC's Chris Bockman in the southern French city of Toulouse says the area is popular with Britons for its hiking opportunities and, in winter, cross-country skiing.