Eight found alive in hotel after Italy avalanche

Rome, Jan 20 (IANS) Eight people have been found alive in Italy’s Rigopiano hotel, two days after it was buried in an avalanche.

More than 30 people are feared dead after a wall of snow and rock slammed into the hotel in central Italy on Wednesday. Rescuers said the survivors had been found buried under snow, but had not yet been extricated. Two are children, BBC reported on Friday.

At least four people have been confirmed dead, and 20 are still missing, as the rescue effort continues in difficult conditions. Teams have been working at the scene for more than 24 hours in temperatures well below zero.

At first, it was thought there were only six survivors, but that was later revised to eight. Rescue teams requested helicopter support once they made the discovery, the Italian media reported.

Italy’s Ansa news agency reported that a mother and daughter were rescued and taken to hospital. The initial six survivors were three men, two women, and a young girl, said reports.

They have spent at least 40 hours buried in the snow and rubble.

The avalanche struck on the Gran Sasso mountain range in Italy’s quake-hit central Abruzzo, as guests awaited evacuation after a series of earthquakes in the region.

Holidaymakers were unable to leave as the roads were blocked and they were waiting for a snow plough. Last week, five metres of snowfall hit the Gran Sasso mountains.

A six-feet wall of snow and rock tore through the four-storey hotel, burying everyone inside and pushing the building 30 feet down the mountainside.

Rescuers on skis battled “apocalyptic” snow storms to reach victims in the village of Farindola on the lower slopes of Gran Sasso.