Eight Survivors Found From Devastating Avalanche That Buried Italian Hotel
Wonderful news emerged from the Abruzzo region of Italy where a devastating avalanche trapped about 30 people inside the luxury Hotel Rigopiano on January 18. Italian rescue workers answered the call via helicopter where they had to ski up to the buried resort to the four-star hotel in a remote, mountainous region.
On January 20, after prohibitive conditions and over 34 hours of work and excavations, they discovered eight people alive in the hotel’s kitchen.
Italian state television RAI was told by rescue workers the survivors’ conditions were remarkably good, and that they had survived thanks to an air pocket in the kitchen where they were also able to light a fire to keep warm. RAI said the group was made up of three men, three women, and two children.
The heartwarming rescue video, which can be seen on BBC, showed a boy dressed in blue snow pants and a matching ski shirt being pulled from the snow with the crew messing up his hair with delight. Then out came a woman who was immediately engulfed by the workers who cheered, “Brava Brava!”
“They are alive. We are talking to them,” Luca Cari, spokesman for the national fire brigade, said by telephone from the scene, according to the Irish Times.
It is unclear whether four 5.7.-magnitude earthquakes on the Richter scale triggered the avalanche. Emergency responders surmised that the force of the massive snow slide collapsed a wing of the hotel that faced the mountain and rotated another wing from its foundation, pushing it downhill.
Farindola Mayor Ilario Lacchetta said the hotel had 24 guests, four of them children, and 12 employees were onsite at the time of the avalanche. An Alpine rescue team – the first to arrive on cross-country skis after a 4 mile two hour journey — initially found two survivors.
Temperatures have remained below zero. The Italian government is expected to declare a state of emergency.