Manslaughter Trial Sought for 25 Suspects in 2017 Italian Hotel Avalanche that Killed 29 People

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The Hotel Rigopiano in the mountain town of Farindola was buried by an avalanche after an earthquake. Credit: AP

A trial is being sought for 25 suspects in the deadly 2017 avalanche at a resort hotel in the Italian Apennine mountains, reports the AP.

The Italian news agency ANSA reported that prosecutors in Pescara formally asked a judge Wednesday to issue trial indictments against 24 people and the hotel company. Accusations include multiple manslaughters and causing a disaster.

Tons of snow smashed into the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola on Jan. 18, 2017, killing 29 guests and staff, when Italy’s Marche region to the north of Farindola was hit by four earthquakes of 5+ on the Richter scale.

Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, Italy

At least 22 tourists and seven staff were inside the Hotel Rigopiano when it was buried by an avalanche in the middle of the night. Rescuers found eight survivors trapped inside the hotel, including a young boy, 40 hours after the avalanche hit. Heavy snowfall hampered rescue efforts as emergency workers struggled to make it to the site.

Farindola mayor Ilario Lacchetta wrote on social media that “the dimensions of the avalanche were huge…it took the whole hotel with it”.

The investigation has largely focused on why help was so slow in arriving, why the hotel was not evacuated after a heavy snowstorm and if it had the authorization to be built in an area known to be prone to avalanches.

It was unclear when a judge, after holding preliminary hearings, would decide on the request for indictments.

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