A luxury Italian hotel was destroyed by avalanche on Wednesday night (18 January). As many as 30 people are feared dead. “There are many deaths,” Antonio Crocetta, the head of a mountain rescue team, told Italian news agency Ansa.
A series of strong earthquakes hit Italy on Wednesday. Four quakes of magnitude 5.2 and higher struck in a space of only four hours. It is believed that seismic activity triggered the avalanche that destroyed the hotel.
The luxury resort Hotel Rigopiano is in the town of Farindola on the Gran Sasso mountain in the central Abruzzo region. According to local reports, the hotel had partly collapsed and was buried by snow.
Italian media said three bodies had been retrieved from the site. Rescue workers declined to comment on the reports, but said they had yet to find any sign of life.
Two survivors have been found by rescuers at the site, with both reportedly outside the building when the avalanche struck.