Italy hotel avalanche leaves many dead and still buried; footage shows aftermath
Los Angeles : Italy on Thursday woke up to a tragic news after it was reported that an earthquake-triggered avalanche buried a hotel at a ski resort in central city.
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3, hit Montereale at about 10:25 a.m. (5:25 a.m. ET), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. More than 100 aftershocks were registered by seismologists throughout the day.
The tragic incident left up to 29 hotel guests and workers either missing or dead. So far one body has been found, while a survivor was flown to the hospital suffering from hypothermia.
According to rescue worker Antonio Crocetta, “There are many dead." Following the news of the incident, authorities spent the night battling atrocious weather conditions. They tried all possible efforts to reach the Hotel Rigopiano in the town of Farindola, on the Gran Sasso mountain in the central Abruzzo region.
A team of 20 rescuers including seven firefighters, two mountain rescue teams and six ambulances was dispatched which reached the scene at 4:30 a.m. local time Thursday (10:30 p.m. Wednesday ET).
Head of Italy's civil protection agency, Fabrizio Curcio, confirmed that 22 guests were registered at the hotel along with "six or seven" workers.
There were also reports of people escaping the tragedy. One man Giampaolo Parete, 38, said he survived because he had gone outside to his car to get something when the avalanche struck but his wife and two children were buried in the avalanche.
Another survivor Fabio Salzetta sent a text message saying he had escaped with an employee but many others were trapped inside the hotel.
He was quoted by a news agency stating, "I'm outside with a maintenance worker but you can't see anything of the hotel, there's only a wall of snow in front of me."
Newsheads could not immediately confirm those reports. Watch deadly footage of aftermath: