At least one person has died and many others feared dead as a result of an Italian hotel being buried under avalanche that follows a series of earthquakes, reports CNN.
Italy’s Civil Protection Department said that 30 people have been trapped in the Hotel Rigopiano hit by a Thursday avalanche.
These estimates are based on the guest registration and staff members but there is the possibility of some people escaping before the hotel was hit.
While speaking to journalists, the Civil Protection Department chief Fabrizio Curcio said that they managed to rescue two brothers from the hotel site.
Spokesman for the Italian fire brigade said that the hotel has been completely slammed within the avalanche’s debris and thus increasing the search area.
The rescue Mission
The spokesman said that it is hectic to handle both earthquakes and avalanches concurrently, thus hampering the rescue mission. Some of the affected populatiosn have even been left wondering on how they can respond.
“For the weather, you tell people to stay in their homes, while for the earthquake, citizens must be brought outside. Putting together these two elements is extremely complicated,” said Curcio.
The same region witnessed the death of an elderly farmer on Wednesday after his barn collapsed.
In trying to access the site, rescuers had to contend with strong winds and blizzards. Others were even forced to ski in the darkness for a number of kilometers due to the impassible roads.
Upon arrival at the scene, only the building’s top story and roof could be seen, as reported by Italy’s Mountain Rescue Service on social media. Some rescuers were dropped in the area by helicopter, according to a Twitter photo by Italy’s fire department.
While commenting on the unfortunate natural phenomena, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that this is a snowfall that has never been witnessed in decades.
He added that rescuers were still being sent to the region even as authorities hope to bring back power to more than 90,000 people. They have been left in darkness as a result of the extreme weather.
The US Geological Survey reported that Central Italy has suffered from 10 earthquakes of which four were over magnitude 5.
The area had early in the morning been hit by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake. The tremors continued for more than six hours, with one as strong as magnitude 5.7.