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Rescuers find eight survivors in Italy avalanche hotel

AFP logoAFP 20/01/2017

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Rescuers have found eight people alive in an Italian mountain hotel devastated by an avalanche two days ago, officials said on Friday.

Emergency workers were able to speak to the survivors and have called for helicopters to evacuate them after more than 40 hours under the rubble of the Hotel Rigopiano, in central Italy.

Rescuers taking part in the salvage operations in front of the Hotel Rigopiano engulfed by a powerful avalanche in Farindola on January 19, 2017, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region © Provided by AFP Rescuers taking part in the salvage operations in front of the Hotel Rigopiano engulfed by a powerful avalanche in Farindola on January 19, 2017, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region Federica Chiavaroli, a junior minister at the Justice ministry, confirmed the dramatic development to reporters in the nearby town of Penne, where the rescue effort was being coordinated and some relatives were anxiously awaiting news of missing loved ones.

"Six people have been found alive and they are being pulled out," the minister told AFP.

Avalanche hits Italian hotel: Latest updates

More than 25 people, including children, were thought to have been in the hotel when it was hit by a massive wall of snow.

Updated estimates on Friday suggested the total could be as high as 34 -- some 20 or 22 guests, seven or eight staff and an unknown number of casual visitors to the four-star, three-storey hotel.

Rescuers taking part in the salvage operations in front of the Hotel Rigopiano engulfed by a powerful avalanche in Farindola on January 19, 2017, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region © Provided by AFP Rescuers taking part in the salvage operations in front of the Hotel Rigopiano engulfed by a powerful avalanche in Farindola on January 19, 2017, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region

Most of the guests were in or around the hotel's entrance at the time the avalanche struck in the late afternoon on Wednesday. They had been waiting for transport to take them home following earthquakes in the region earlier in the day.

Two dead bodies have been removed from the ruins since the first rescuers reached the hotel in the early hours of Thursday.


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