Published on Thursday, January 19, 2017

'Many' feared dead after avalanche hits hotel in Italy

Officials say a number of people have been killed after an avalanche hit a hotel in Italy.

It is believed the avalanche was triggered by yesterday's earthquake in the country.

Mountain rescue teams fought overnight to reach the four-star Hotel Rigopiano, which is close to the Gran Sasso mountain in the Abruzzo region.

But their efforts were hampered by bad weather conditions. The first to arrive were on skis.

Local media quoted the head of the rescue team, Antonio Crocetta, as saying: "There are many deaths."

It is feared up to 30 people, including several children, were in the hotel when the avalanche hit, causing the roof to partially collapse.

Central Italy's Abruzzo, Marche and Lazio regions were hit by four earthquakes yesterday, followed by tremors overnights.

Before the quakes, the mountainous regions had days of heavy snow.

The same part of Italy was hit by an earthquake in August, killing 298 people.

The remote Hotel Rigopiano overlooks the Gran Sasso mountain and is just under six miles from the small town of Farindola.

The UK Foreign Office advised visitors to Lazio, Abruzzo and Marche to follow local advice and to check the European Avalanche Warning Service website for more information about the avalanche risk.

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