Thirty people still missing at Italian hotel buried by massive avalanche

Thirty people still missing at Italian hotel buried by massive avalancheā€

Hopes of finding survivors are dwindling.

Firefighter Giuseppe Romano said, "Other people have responded to our signals".

"In one room, there was a mother and her son; in the room next door, there were four people, but it was more hard to reach them", Luca Cari, a spokesman for the Fire Department, said by telephone.

More footage shows a woman being pulled from the rubble.

Civil protection officials said the risk of further avalanches was factoring into the search effort.

"We are hoping that the ceiling collapsed partially in some places and that someone remained underneath", rescuer Lorenzo Gagliardi told SKY TG24.

The group managed to find shelter in a small attic space and rescuers worked to pull them from the rubble today.

The area, which has been buried under as much as nine feet (three meters) of snowfall for days, is located in the broad swath of central Italy between Rieti and Teramo that was jolted by Wednesday's quakes, one of which had a 5.7 magnitude.

The ANSA news agency quotes the vice-brigadier of Italy's financial police, Marco Bini, as saying eight people were located alive in two separate operations, but other reports say five or six survivors have been located.

Prosecutors have opened a manslaughter investigation into the tragedy and are looking into whether the avalanche threat was taken seriously enough, according to Italian media. The first rescuers arrived amid a snow storm on skis early on Thursday morning, some 11 hours after the avalanche hit.

Most of the guests were thought to have been in or around the hotel's entrance when the avalanche struck late Wednesday afternoon. However, Marcella told RAI that local prefecture did not immediately believe him and was only assured help was the way to the site around two hours later.

"I am alive because I went to get something from my auto", one of the two survivors, Giampiero Parete, whose wife and two children are still missing, told medical staff, according to la Repubblica.

The Italian government is expected to declare a state of emergency later on Friday.

Two men who had been outside the hotel were found alive in their vehicle but two other people located under the ruins could not be saved.

The Gran Sasso Resort Farindola (Pescara) is a situated some 1,200 meters above sea level making rescue efforts hard.

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