Avalanche hits Italian hotel, over 30 people feared dead under snow
A huge avalanche ploughed into a luxury mountain hotel in central Italy after a series of strong earthquakes rattled the area, and up to 30 people might be buried under the snow, officials said on Thursday.
Rescue workers using flashlights on their helmets battled blizzard conditions during the night to reach the isolated hotel on skis. They arrived in the dark to find most of the four-storey structure submerged under a mountain of snow and debris.
“Around 30 people are unaccounted for, between guests and workers at the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola,” Fabrizio Curcio, head of Italy’s civil protection department, told reporters.
More than 12 hours after the wall of snow smashed into the four-star hotel, which is some 1,200 metres (4,000 ft) above sea level, only two survivors had been accounted for.
“I am alive because I went to get something from my car,” one of the two, Giampiero Parete, told medical staff.