Italian Hotel Buried in Avalanche; Children Among The Dozens Feared Dead

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Thirty guests are feared dead after a series of earthquakes in central Italy triggered an massive avalanche that buried a luxury hotel in the Italian Alps, trapping dozens beneath mountains of heavy packed snow, uprooted trees and loosened boulders.

Survival stories are slowly trickling in as all communication links are down. One guest survived as he walked to his car to retrieve something forgotten when the avalanche struck and buried him. The car remained partially exposed. His wife and two children are still in the hotel.

Two other guests have been rescued and treated for hypothermia. Three bodies have been recovered. 

Pictures show the hotel lobby windows and walls ripped apart from the force. While there are possibilities of survivor’s local officials fear many have died.

As the story develops there were nearly 200 guests registered at the Hotel Rigopiano, a four-star luxury hotel and spa, as of Sunday including families and children.

The hotel located in Abruzzo's central region, which had been rocked by earthquakes throughout 2016, has been geologically unstable, experienced a series of earthquake Monday registering 5.7 on the Richter Scale. The three quakes triggered the avalanche that swept away everything in its path and buried the hotel located at the base of the mountain.

Italian rescue workers have been dropped in by helicopter and have been able to reach the location on ski’s. All roads are closed and blocked by the snow, ice, and debris. Heavy equipment is working to clear a path on the hairpin road.

The situation is dire and the death total is expected to rise.

This is a developing story.

Images courtesy of RAI News posted via Twitter @rainews

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