30 missing after avalanche buries hotel in Italy

One male survivor said he walked outdoors to retrieve an item from the family vehicle just before the avalanche hit Hotel Rigopiano.

Rescuers have worked relentlessly to reach the four-star Hotel Rigopiano, close to Gran Sasso mountain.

Our rescue dogs are on the way after travelling through walls of snow to find the missing from the Hotel Rigopiano hit by an avalanche.

Rescuers have been calling out to survivors at the Hotel Rigopiano in Abruzzo, but no one has responded, the news agency ANSA reported.

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Alpine teams on skis managed to reach the hotel at about 4 a.m. local time Thursday.

Central Italy was rocked by more than 10 tremors on Wednesday, four of them above a magnitude of 5, according to the US Geological Survey. The size of the avalanche, which moved the entire hotel by 10 meters, is making rescue efforts hard. The Italian authorities reported this today. Relatives of some of the victims confirmed yesterday that numerous hotel guests were intending to leave the hotel on Wednesday because of the deteriorating weather conditions.

Thirty-eight-year-old Giampaolo Parete was reportedly saved because he went to fetch something in his auto when the avalanche happened - but his wife and two children remain trapped. Even snow plows struggled to get through.

Local media quoted rescue team leaders saying they feared many casualties. Fortunately, my auto was not covered and I was able to wait for the rescue workers in it.

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The Civil Protection department in the Marche region announced an alarm for possible avalanches.

Inside the hotel, they found a scene of utter destruction as the weight of the snow collapsed the roof down to the ground floor.

Authorities are now working to rescue the 30 people believed to have been in the hotel at the time. The region is still recovering from a series of earthquakes and aftershocks in August that killed more than 200 people. The area is known for heavy snows and cold winter temperatures.

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