BOLZANO, Italy (AP) _ Mudslides barreled across the main highway south of the Italian-Austrian border today, killing five Germans on vacation, authorities said.

Three people were slightly injured by the slides near the town of Fortezza, 25 miles south of the border, in the heart of Italy's Alpine resort country. Traffic was backed up for miles.

The five bodies were recovered from two cars buried under 10 feet of mud and rocks, Italy's RAI state radio said.

Austria Press Agency said the victims were a married couple from Mainz in one car and a family with a young boy from Pinneberg, Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany.

Three separate mudslides, triggered by a thunderstorm, struck a valley in the South Tyrol. The mudslides covered the autostrada, Italy's highest-speed road, as well as local highways and rail lines.

Hundreds of firefighters and other rescuers were dug through tons of mud and used metal detectors to see if other vehicles were buried by the slides. Rescuers also carried water and food to stranded motorists.

No trains were hit, but travelers on the major international lines were facing several hours' delay.