FARINDOLA, Italy (AP) – The Latest on the avalanche that buried a hotel in central Italy (all times local):
Italian news reports say the number of people found alive under the rubble of the avalanche-crushed hotel in central Italy has risen to eight, including two children.
State-run RAI, Sky TG24 and the ANSA news agency, citing carabineri, raised the initial number of survivors. Earlier, AP staffers reaching the scene on foot overheard firefighter radio reports saying five people had been located and requesting helicopters to bring them to hospitals.
An estimated 30 people were buried under the Hotel Rigopiano in Italy’s snow-bound Abruzzo region after a huge avalanche covered the resort on Wednesday. Two people initially escaped the devastation and called for help.
Four of the guests were children, the town mayor said.
Italian police radio and news reports say five people are believed to have been found alive in the rubble of the avalanche that flattened a mountain resort and that helicopters have been requested to take them to safety.
Two Associated Press staffers overheard police radio chatter when they were turned away from the site of the disaster Friday. The reports said five people were located in the rubble and that helicopters had been requested.
The ANSA news agency said the number was six and that firefighting crews were in touch with them but that they were still under the rubble.
Search and rescue teams are maintaining hope of finding survivors of an avalanche that buried a hotel under up to five meters (15 feet) of snow.
Rescuer Lorenzo Gagliardi told SKY TG24 that “we are hoping that the ceiling collapsed partially in some places and that someone remained underneath.”
The rescue operations have been hampered by difficulty in accessing the remote the Hotel Rigopiano, which was buried in an avalanche with about 30 people inside Wednesday afternoon. Workers have been clearing a seven-kilometer (5.5-mile) road to bring in heavier equipment but it can handle only one-way traffic.
Alpine corps rescuer Milan Walter told SKY that they were considering whether to ferry more personnel in by helicopter as was done Thursday.
Romanians are fearing the worst for a local nurse who began a new life in Italy more than a decade ago, and is one of 30 people trapped with her young children after an avalanche hit a hotel in central Italy where the family was staying.
A local mayor described 43-year-old Adriana Vranceanu as “a pretty and sweet-natured girl” who chose to relocate to Italy about 12 years ago to get treatment for a debilitating rheumatoid arthritis condition which requires injections at about 1,000 euros ($1,060) a shot.
Nicusor Puscasu-Andone, mayor of the village of Corbasca, told The Associated Press that Vranceanu returned every summer to the rural area with her two children, Ludovica, 6, and Gianfilippo, 8,who were with her when the avalanche smashed into the four-star Hotel Rigopiano in the mountains of central Italy.
Her husband Giampiero Parete called his boss when the avalanche struck Wednesday and begged him to mobilize rescue crews.
Rescue crews are continuing the painstaking search for some 30 people trapped inside a remote Italian mountain resort flattened by a huge avalanche.
Italy’s civil protection agency on Friday said the search continued throughout the night with searchlights, and would accelerate with the arrival of daylight. So far two bodies have been recovered, and RAI state TV said two more bodies have been located in the snow.
The search has been hampered by snow blocking the only road in, concern that the buildings would collapse and fear of triggering a fresh avalanche. The first rescue teams arrived on skis, and firefighters were dropped in by helicopter.
Officials said that overnight the road was widened to bring in heavier vehicles to aid with the search.
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