Italy Avalanche: Hotel Rigopiano Destroyed, 30 Missing And Feared Dead

The Italy avalanche buried the Hotel Rigopiano in snow, leaving up to 30 people dead. Some of the missing hotel guests who have been presumed dead are children. The Hotel Rigopiano, located in central Italy, was directly hit by a heavy six-foot-high wall of snow on Wednesday.

Emergency responders are struggling to reach the Italy avalanche survivors. Heavy excavation equipment and a fleet of ambulances are attempting to reach the remote site where the Hotel Rigopiano is located. Piles of rubble and snow inside the hotel caused the structure to be moved more than 10 feet from its original location, MSN reports.

Blizzard conditions slowed down the ground rescue efforts by 20 firefighters, two mountain rescue teams, six ambulances, and local police officers. Evacuating any survivors by airlift remains a slow but steady effort.

One body has already been recovered from the ruins of the hotel. Two Italy avalanche victims who were not inside Hotel Rigopiano when the wall of snow fell upon the resort have been located and rescued.

Extremely frightened Hotel Rigopiano guests and staff have been trying to send text messages to loved ones, the Daily Mail reports.

“Help, help, we are dying of the cold,” one text message from an Italy avalanche survivor said.

Messages from the outside world are urging those huddled inside to “be calm” and letting them know that help is on the way.

“They are extracting them from the hotel, and bringing them to hospitals, I think. But I don’t know because it is impossible for us to go up. I am sorry,” another text message sent to an Italy avalanche survivor reportedly read.

One male survivor said he walked outdoors to retrieve an item from the family car just before the avalanche hit Hotel Rigopiano. He survived but said his wife and two children as still trapped inside.

Hotel Rigopiano is a small ski hotel located on the eastern side of the lower slopes of the Gran Sasso mountain. Italian Civil Protection Chief Fabrizio Curcio told the press about 20 people and “several children,” as well as about eight staffers, were inside the hotel when the avalanche occurred.

There is no official death toll from the Italy avalanche yet, as the rescue is just too fluid at this time for local officials to know and relay such information.

“There are many dead,” one local law enforcement commander reportedly told the press.

Ambulances have been blocked by a two-foot wall of snow about six miles away from the Hotel Rigopiano in the Italian village of Farindola. Local mayor Ilario Lacchetta said the avalanche had “huge dimensions.”

“It took the whole hotel with it,” Lacchetta added.

“What is certain is that the building took a direct hit from the avalanche, to the point that it was moved by 10 metres,” Antonio Di Marco, the president of Pescara province, said.

The region around Hotel Rigopiano was hit by four seismic shocks measuring above a five-magnitude grade over the course of just four hours on Wednesday. The Italian hotel is located about 55 miles from the epicenter of the earthquakes in Montereale. Last August, the same area was hit by an earthquake that killed almost 300 people. The seismic shocks prompted emergency management officials to issue avalanche warnings in the Gran Sasso mountain region before the tragic natural disaster happened on Wednesday.

[Featured Image by George Clerk/iStock]