"Many dead" after avalanche hits hotel in central Italy

Jan 19, 2017, 5:29 AM EST
(Source: Ari Bakker/flickr)
(Source: Ari Bakker/flickr)

An avalanche triggered by a series of earthquakes on Wednesday hit a hotel close to the Gran Sasso mountain in the Abruzzo region in Italy, leaving “many” dead and several others missing. A rescue official said that about 30 people were present in the Rigopiano hotel, located 1,200 meters above sea level when the avalanche struck the place.

A string of quakes, measuring between 5.1 and 5.7 magnitude, jolted central Italy on Wednesday, leaving many villages inaccessible and services collapsed, writes the BBC. A powerful earthquake ripped through the same region on August 24, killing 298 people and displacing thousands of others.

The rescue workers, who battled hard to get the relief vehicles to the stricken hotel, said that inclement weather and recurrent shock waves were severely hampering the operation, notes The Guardian.

The mountainous region has been buffeted by snowstorms, piling agony on to the hard-hit population and forcing the authorities to shift homeless to safe accommodations in the area, reports The Telegraph.