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Cut off and up to 30 dead: Rigopiano di Farindola Hotel in Italy

Cut off and up to 30 dead:  Rigopiano di Farindola Hotel in Italy

Up to 30 people are have been killed after an Italian ski hotel was buried by an avalanche during a series of earthquakes.  The disaster happened at the base of the Gran Sasso mountain range near the Rigopiano di Farindola hotel.

Rescue teams are still battling to access Hotel Rigopiano, in Pescara, a province in the Abruzzo region, which has been hit by heavy snowfall in the last week.

The search operation was launched after four powerful earthquakes hit central Italy – in regions already reeling from deadly quakes last August.

‘There are many dead,’ Antonio Crocetta, the head of a group of Alpine police that was trying to reach the cut-off hotel, was quoted as saying.

Emergency services were notified of the disaster by two visitors staying at the hotel. They said that about twenty guests were registered at the time of the incident, besides the employees who have been working at the hotel.

The Gran Sasso Resort Farindola (Pescara) is a situated some 1,200 meters above sea level making rescue efforts difficult. Rescue teams could take up to three hours to get there as they need to cover roughly 50 km in treacherous weather conditions to get there.

The National Mountain Rescue Corps (CNSAS) said it has dispatched about  35 people, split into four teams from Abruzzo and the neighboring region to organize the search, but the roads are blocked by 2 meter piles of snow.

Central Italy was struck by a series of earthquakes on Wednesday, measuring up to magnitude 5.7, with tremors reportedly felt across the regions of Abruzzo, Marche and Lazio – including the city of Rome.

In addition to the quakes, the country has been pounded by heavy snowfall and rain.

The Civil Protection department in the Marche region announced an alarm for possible avalanches. There are also concerns that a river in Pescara might soon burst its banks. Some 100,000 people have been left without electricity in the region of Abruzzo after heavy snowfalls, ANSA reports.

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