natural disasters

Up to 30 People Missing After Avalanche Destroys Hotel in Italy

An Italian military soldier stand guards in a central street in Amatrice on January 19, 2017, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

An avalanche, triggered by a series of earthquakes in central Italy, buried a four-star hotel in the Abruzzo region on Wednesday night. As many as 30 people, including many kids, are missing at the Hotel Rigopiano, a mountainside resort now swallowed by snow. Rescue teams have arrived, but officials fear that many may have perished. The BBC reports that search dogs, sniffing through the devastation, have not detected any signs of life. “The hotel is almost completely destroyed,” a member of the rescue team told the Guardian. “We’ve called out but we’ve heard no replies, no voices. We’re digging and looking for people.”

Italian media broadcast a video of the destruction of the hotel, showing snow, with bits of debris poking up, engulfing an entire hallway. One guest, reportedly texting from inside the hotel, wrote: “Help, we’re dying of cold.”

Rescue squads, dealing with tremors and blizzard conditions, struggled to reach the hotel, trekking five miles in skis and showshoes to the scene. At least one person pulled from the rubble is dead; two people, who were outside the hotel when the avalanche struck, have been saved.

Officials warn of the potential for more avalanches. The region hit by these tremors is not far from the town of Amatrice, which was hit by deadly earthquakes in August that killed about 300 in the area.

30 People Missing After Avalanche Destroys Hotel in Italy