Three Sheepdog Puppies Found Alive After Italian Avalanche Gives Rescue Workers Hope
Rescue workers have recovered three sheepdog puppies from an avalanche that struck a hotel in Central Italy, providing hope that the people still missing could potentially be alive.
The three white Abruzzo sheepdog puppies were found five days after an avalanche devastated a mountain hotel. The puppies were born to the hotel’s sheepdogs, Nuvola and Lupo, who survived the avalanche as well.
“[It’s] an important sign of life, which gives us hope,” Firefighter Fabio Jerman told the Guardian.
“They just started barking very softly,” said Sonia Marini, a member of the Forestry Corps, told the Associated Press. “In fact, it was hard to find them right away because they were hidden. Then we heard this very tiny bark and we saw them from a little hole the firefighters had opened in the wall. Then we expanded the hole and we pulled them out.”
Finding the puppies proved that there are still air pockets in the collapsed building.
“It’s a race against time, we know we need to go fast, but it’s not an easy working environment,” said Luca Cari, a fire service spokesman, said to the Guardian.
New routes into the hotel are being dug in a final effort to find survivors. Nine survivors were found on Friday, who “described being trapped in tiny spaces, eating dirty snow in the pitch black to survive,” reported the Guardian.
While finding the puppies gave a glimpse of hope to the rescue workers, others are not as optimistic as the sheepdog puppies were found in an “isolated part of the hotel,” explained the AP.
“We’re happy to have saved them, and these are important moments in a dramatic situation,” Cari told the AP. “But I don’t think there’s much correlation with finding other people.”
The avalanche, which weighed about 120,000 tones, hit Hotel Rigopiano at a speed of 60 miles per hour.
Currently, seven people have been found dead and 22 are still missing.