Four more survivors extracted from Italian hotel hit by avalanche

Four more survivors extracted from Italian hotel hit by avalanche
PHOTO: Reuters

PENNE, Italy - Four people were pulled alive from the wreckage of a luxury hotel that was demolished on Wednesday by a deadly avalanche, bringing the number of survivors to nine, the national fire service said on Saturday.

The two men and two women were extracted from the shattered ruins of Hotel Rigopiano overnight after hours of painstaking digging by firemen, who were having to move cautiously for fear the buried air pockets might collapse.

Four children and a woman were saved on Friday, dug out from under tonnes of snow and debris in a remote valley in mountainous central Italy.

Fire service spokesman Luca Cari told Reuters the bodies of two women were also recovered during the night, bringing the known death toll to four. Around 15 people are still unaccounted for.

A tsunami of snow smashed into the spa hotel on Wednesday afternoon, obliterating the four-storey building and spreading debris for hundreds of metres (yards) down the valley in the Gran Sasso park in the heart of Italy.

Around 30 people had been in the hotel at the time.

Italian media reported early Saturday that a number of other voices had been heard under the rubble, but that it was proving hard to establish where exactly they were. There was no immediate confirmation of this from the emergency services.

Rescue teams would continue to work night and day until everyone was accounted for, Cari said.

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