Italy hotel avalanche toll reaches 24

Rome, Jan 25 (IANS) Italian rescue teams on Wednesday pulled another six bodies from the ruins of a mountain hotel in Italy hit by an avalanche, raising the death toll to 24.

Firefighters said five people were still missing in the snow and wreckage after an earthquake-triggered avalanche hit a hotel in the central Abruzzo region on January 18, Efe news reported.

“Firefighters recovered more bodies, unfortunately lifeless. Balance: 24 dead and five missing,” tweeted the country’s firefighting service.

Rescue operations, taken on by 150 workers from several organisations working in shifts, have been ongoing since Thursday morning although hopes that more people could be found alive were dropping fast.

According to rescuers, the rooms on the upper floors were completely destroyed in the avalanche after four consecutive earthquakes on January 18.

According to estimates, some 120,000 tonnes of snow, rocks and other debris hit the hotel at a speed of 100 km per hour.