There were fears that everyone inside an avalanche hit hotel in Italy had died. But rescuers have now found eight people, including two young children, alive after used their bare hands to dig them out of the buried building.
Rescue teams headed to the remote location with helicopters and by travelling on foot for hours using cross country skis following the avalanche, which happened after the centre of Italy was hit by four earthquakes.
Now, they have discovered a group of people still alive, holed up in a kitchen at the hotel. They had made a fire to keep warm and had been eating food they found in the kitchen cupboards. So far, two people have been pulled free from the hotel, including a young boy, and they have been airlifted to hospital. Emergency services workers are still trying to get the other six people out of the building, but say they are talking to them.
‘Find my daughter’
One boy was seen being lifted out of the snow, before a woman followed him, shouting at rescuers to find her daughter. It is understood that the family of Giampiero Parete, who survived the avalanche after going outside to get headache tablets from the car at the point that the snow came down, are among survivors.
The hotel’s two resident dogs, Cloud and Wolf, have also been found alive after the catastrophe, in which the building was torn from its foundations and moved 30ft by the force of the snow. Images which emerged from inside showed how snow had broken through into corridors and stairwells. Up to 38 people were believed to have been inside the hotel at the time the avalanche struck. Many people are still missing, but deputy interior minister Filippo Bubbico said emergency crews were working tirelessly to reach them.