Avalanche survivor’s wife, son, rescued from hotel

Rome, Jan 20 (IANS/AKI) The wife and young son of a cook who escaped the avalanche that buried over 30 people inside a central Italian ski hotel were pulled out alive from the building on Friday and airlifted to hospital in Pescara.

“My daughter is still in there. Please get her out,” Giampiero Parete’s wife told rescuers as she emerged with her seven-year-old son in scenes dramatically captured on video.

Parete reportedly told doctors he escaped Wednesday’s avalanche because he left the hotel in the remote Abruzzo hamlet of Farindola to fetch something from his car, but his wife and two children were still inside.

The 38-year-old chef called his boss, restaurant owner Quintino Marcella, for help, saying: “The hotel is not there anymore. It’s disappeared. It’s buried.”

Marcella criticised the response, claiming no one took him seriously when he alerted authorities at around 5.30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The first rescuers reached the hotel at 4.30 a.m. on Thursday after skiing for six hours cross-country.

Four strong earthquakes jolted central Italy on Wednesday, possibly triggering the massive avalanche. It swept the Hotel Rigopiano 10 metres down the mountainside, crushing part of the building and burying it under two metres of snow.

Some 34 people were trapped inside the hotel in sub-zero temperatures as rescuers struggled to reach the snowbound hamlet.

So far four bodies have been recovered from the hotel. Rescuers said on Friday they had identified at least seven survivors inside, including Parete’s family.