Three people have been found shot dead in a British-registered people carrier in the French Alps while a young girl is fighting for her life in hospital, officials in France say.

The Foreign Office is urgently looking into the incident, which also left a fourth person, a male cyclist, dead from gunshot wounds.

The bodies of the three people, two women and a man, will remain in the BMW in a car park on the outskirts of a forest, overnight. Forensic experts are travelling from Paris to the scene near Lake Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region, which is popular with tourists.

Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud said the young girl, found wounded on a road near the village of Chevaline, is aged between six and seven years old. She is in a critical condition in a Grenoble hospital.

No weapon has been found but the area was left littered with bullet cartridges.

Mr Maillaud said: "We don't know the nationality of these people. The car is an English car, we are sure of that, but we don't know their nationality. It is not possible to move the people before tomorrow morning. We don't have access to documents to know who the people are."

French newspaper L'Essor Savoyard reported that locals had been left shocked by the attacks, saying that the region was usually quiet.

Mayor Didier Berthollet told the newspaper that the victims are not from the area and that the forest road where the car was found is very popular with walkers.

A Foreign Office spokesman: "We are aware of the reports of the shooting and we are looking into these urgently."

According to the official website of the lake, a popular tourist destination, it is known as the "little Venice of the Alps" and is a centre for swimming and watersports.