Earthquake Triggered Avalanche Buried Ski Resort in Italy | 30 People Missing

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The Rigopiano Hote, was hit by an avalanche in Farindola, Italy, after earthquakes struck the region on Wednesday. Photo from today. Italian Firefighters/AP
The Rigopiano Hote, was hit by an avalanche in Farindola, Italy, after earthquakes struck the region on Wednesday. Photo from today.
Italian Firefighters/AP

A large avalanche had buried a ski resort in central Italy yesterday.

30 people are missing.

The avalanche appears to have been triggered by four earthquakes that occurred in the Abruzzo region on Wednesday.  This is the same region where 300 people were killed by a potent earthquake last summer.

“The wall of snow blasted the Hotel Rigopiano ski resort as roughly 30 guests and employees slept,” Livesay reports. “The civil protection agency told Italian news agency ANSA that there were ‘many dead’ beneath the snow and rubble, in the central Italian town of Farindola.

“Narrow mountain roads and icy weather are hampering rescue efforts.” -Christopher Livesay, reporting for NPR from Rome

A large, frantic rescue operation is underway.

Avalanche debris and rubble came directly into the Hotel Rigopiano on earth Thursday morning.  Video below:

The first rescuers reached the hotel on skis and more rescuers arrived via helicopter according to ANSA.

The footage from the hotel shows snow coming in through skylights, hallways, and walls.

Trapped people in the region have been texting to local media outlets.

The situation in the hotel appears grim with local media reporting one couple saying:  “Help, we’re dying of cold.”
According to ANSA, one survivor reports surviving the avalanche because he went out to his car to grab something.  His wife and children were trapped inside.

One message, according to local media reports, came from a couple who said, “Help, we’re dying of cold.”

Map showing Hotel Rigopiano, Italy that was buried in snow.
Map showing Hotel Rigopiano, Italy that was buried in snow.

The AP reports that the region:  

“has been pummeled by more than a meter (three feet) of snow in recent days”:

“[Storms] have knocked out power and phone lines and blocked roads, isolating towns and hamlets”

‘We have been abandoned by everyone!’  ‘They talk about sending in the army: Thirty to 40 men came with shovels. We need heavy machinery.’ – one resident from the province of Teramo, Daiana Nguyen, on Sky TG24.

“Nguyen said people have been stuck in their homes for days.”

The Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, has told authorities to “multiply their efforts” to reach trapped people in the Abruzzo region as quickly as humanly possible.

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