Up to six survivors of massive Italy avalanche found
PENNE, ItalyRescuers are digging to free up to six people found alive under the avalanche that buried a luxury mountain hotel in Italy almost two days ago, a fire department official said on Jan. 20.
“They are alive. We are talking to them,” Luca Cari, spokesman for the national fire brigade, said by telephone from the scene, according to Reuters. Cari said six survivors had been found, while an Alpine Rescue official said there were five.
One of the survivors is a young girl, Deputy Interior Minister Filippo Bubbico said, speaking in the nearby town of Penne, where he is monitoring the rescue for the government.
Helicopters have been dispatched with equipment and doctors to try to extract and evacuate the survivors, Italian media said.
Rescuers searched all night for some 30 missing people. Two bodies have been removed, officials said, while Italian media said two more were located overnight.
Two men, who were outside the hotel when the avalanche hit, survived the disaster.
The disaster struck the hotel in central Italy late on Jan. 18 amid a driving snowstorm, just hours after four earthquakes with a magnitude above 5 rattled the area.
More than 30 people, including four children, were in the building when the avalanche slammed into it, officials said, reducing much of it to rubble and spreading debris across the valley floor.
As much as 5 meters (16 ft) of snow covered much of what is left of the hotel, said Walter Milan, a member of the Alpine Rescue service who is on the scene. Only sections of the spa and swimming area were intact, he said.