Rescuers have found signs that 13 people are still alive inside an Italian hotel that was hit by an avalanche as it is revealed a woman and boy pulled free from the snow are the family of a chef who narrowly avoided the tragedy.
Rescue teams located the group of 10 people who had been hiding in a kitchen of the barricaded hotel for around 40 hours, where they made a fire and ate things they found in cupboards.
Some have been pulled from the snow and taken to hospitals in the cities of Pescara and Aquila. And incredible footage has emerged showing the mother and son being rescued.
Emerging from the structure rescue crews patted the eight-year-old boy called Gianfilippo on the head in celebration before a woman, thought to be Adriana Vranceanu, emerged to chants of ‘Brava Brava! before she shouted ‘Find my daughter!’
The survivors appeared fully alert and walking on their own. Both were helped down to a stretcher for the helicopter ride out.
They are the family of cook Giampiero Parete who escaped the avalanche after going to fetch headache tablets from his car for his wife when it hit. However, their six-year-old daughter Ludovica is still inside the hotel.
Rescue workers cheer as they pull a youngster alive from the barricaded hotel after an avalanche hit it almost two days ago
The young boy was fully alert as he made his way out of the hotel and was then put on a helicopter to be taken to hospital
Rescue teams pull a woman to safety after she was found alive in the Hotel Rigopiano, 40 hours after it was hit by an avalanche
The rescued mother is Adriana Parete and her son, who are the family of cook Giampiero Parete who escaped the avalanche after going to fetch headache tablets from his car for his wife when it hit. Their six-year-old daughter is still missing
A rescue worker said those that were pulled free were were speechless after being saved.
Marco Bini, an officer with the mountain rescue wing of the GDF financial police, said: ‘We saw smoke, there were a few small fires in the rubble, and where there is fire there is air so we started to dig.’
‘The fire will have been using up the oxygen so we were lucky to find them. Their faces said it all, it was like they had been reborn.
‘After all the work we are overjoyed to have found them alive.’
In addition the hotel’s dogs Wolf and Cloud, were also pulled alive from the building and are being cared for by a hotel worker who had earlier escaped.
Firefighters work at Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, as they try to dig the snow away from the building using just shovels
Rescue work continued throughout last night, but authorities say the prospects of anyone being rescued alive looked bleak
Rescue teams have located the group hiding in a kitchen of the barricaded hotel but are have difficulty pulling them to safety until specialist equipment arrives
An aerial view showing the search area rescue teams are working at to free people trapped inside a hotel hit by an avalanche
Rescue crews located more than eight people alive in the rubble of an avalanche-crushed hotel on Friday, an incredible discovery that boosted spirits two days after the massive snow slide buried around 30 people in the resort
It comes just hours after rescue teams said there was still hope of finding survivors after a barrage of snow hit the Hotel Rigopiano in the village of Farindola on Wednesday ripping the three-storey building from its foundations and moving it ten metres.
According to local media, rescue helicopters with doctors on board are en route to the scene and as well as sniffer dogs after the survivors were found.
Fire brigade spokesman Luca Cari said: ‘They are alive and we are talking to them.’
A rescue helicopter swoops down towards the hotel in central Italy that had been buried under an avalanche since Wednesday
Rescue workers attempt to get to the scene of the hotel by ploughing through the snow which is up to 15 feet deep
Some of the survivors pulled from the hotel arrive by helicopter at an airport in Pescara before being taken to hospital for treatment
A tracked vehicle of the Italian army brings rescuers for the operation in the area was hit by an avalanche in Farindola
HOTEL’S SHEEPDOGS SURVIVE DEADLY AVALANCHE
Two victims that were caught up in the Italian avalanche that had a happy ending were the Hotel Rigopiano’s dogs, who have been reunited with their puppies.
Lupo and Nuvola (Wolf and Cloud), a pair of shaggy white Abruzzo sheepdogs who were born and raised in the ill-fated hotel, were initially feared to have perished in Wednesday’s tragedy.
But they were found on Thursday ambling along a road in Villa Cupoli, a hamlet more than two miles away, according to resident Martina Rossi, who worked at the hotel but was not there when the avalanche struck.
Earlier today, the hotel’s dogs Wolf and Cloud were found alive after previously going missing after the avalanche. This picture of the dogs was posted on Facebook overnight
She told the AFP news agency: ‘I saw them in the street about 9.30 pm on Thursday night, and my heart started beating very fast.
‘I called their names and they recognised me, I was so happy. I have no idea how they got there.’
With the hotel owner among the people missing under the ruins, the dogs have been taken in by another local resident who had just adopted a litter of puppies Nuvola had recently given birth to.
Also known as the Maremmano, the Abruzzo sheepdog breed is known for its photogenic appearance with the puppies resembling furry Polar bear cubs.
Their white coats are the result of selective breeding in their native regions of Abruzzo and the Tuscan Maremma.
The colour enabled them to blend in with sheep flocks they were assigned to protect from wolves.
It comes as the names of those who have not been seen since the avalanche hit have began to emerge as their families desperately wait to hear of their fate.
It is believed that 17 people are still missing presumed dead after the avalanche on Wednesday.
Among them are Domenico DiMichelangelo, 41, a police chief, his wife Marina and their seven-year-old son who had been on a family holiday at the hotel when the avalanche hit.
Also missing presumed dead are husband and wife Corporal Luciano and his wife Silvana Angelucci.
The couple who are both hairdressers and run a well-known beauty spa in the region Chieti , had only arrived at the hotel on Sunday.
Another couple, Marco Vagnarelli and Paola Tomassini are also missing after the avalanche of snow.
People waiting outside the hospital in Pescara began hugging after hearing survivors had been found at the avalanche hit hotel
An ambulance arrives at Pascara hospital bringing people who were trapped inside the hotel for medical treatment
The first ambulances carrying some of the people pulled out of the avalanche which hit Hotel Rigopiano in the village of Farindola
A supermarket in the Italian town of Penne, close to where the avalanche occurred partially collapsed following a series of earthquakes and snow
A man walks in the town of Penne, central Italy, following a series an avalanches that have left people missing presumed dead
A firefighter walks inside Hotel Rigopiano in the part that has become accessible since the avalanche hit the building
A firefighter working at the hotel in Farindola opens a door to find snow packed together outside as he searches for survivors
Two bodies have been extracted from the rubble and two survivors suffering from hypothermia taken to hospital
Rescue teams gather at their base before trekking towards the hotel that has been engulfed by the avalanche
The pair, who are from Castignano, have not been heard from since the avalanche, when they messaged Mr Vagnarelli’s brother to say they couldn’t leave the hotel due to the weather conditions.
Among the others who have not been seen since the avalanche are Alessandro Ricetti, 33, hotel employee Emanuele Bonifazi, as well as other couple Jessica Tinari and Marco Tanda.
Also added to the list of the missing are couple Stefano Feniello, 28, and Francesca Bronzes, 25, as well as hotel employee Ilaria Di Biase.
And deputy interior minister Filippo Bubbico told reporters in the town of Penne, where a camp has been set up for rescue workers: ‘We’re holding on to hope that there are survivors inside.’
‘Firefighters and alpine rescuers are working tirelessly and now the army is doing everything to improve access to the route.’
Police chief Domenico DiMichelangelo, alongside his wife Marina and their seven-year-old son, who have not been seen since the avalanche hit
Also missing presumed dead are husband and wife Corporal Luciano and his wife Silvana Angelucci who work as hairdressers
Marco Vagnarelli and Paola Tomassini are also missing after the avalanche of snow. The pair, who are from Castignano, have not been heard from since the avalanche
Also added to the list of the missing are couple Stefano Feniello, 28, and Francesca Bronzes, 25, pictured
Hotel employees Emanuele Bonifazi, left, and Ilaria Di Biase, right have not been seen since the avalanche hit on Wednesday
Special army mountain rescue teams were seen riding in vehicles with caterpillar tracks.
‘A small avalanche has created a wall of snow across the path to the hotel, we are heading up there now to knock it down,’ said army Major Nicola Cappozolo.
‘As long as there is hope of finding survivors we’ll be there’
Two bodies have been extracted from the rubble and two survivors suffering from hypothermia taken to hospital.
Italian broadcasters showed images of piles of masonry and rubble in the entrance area of what they dubbed a ‘coffin hotel’.
Giampaolo Parete, 38, a chef who was on vacation there, was one of two people rescued from the three-storey hotel.
A rescuer arrives at the wrecked Hotel Rigopiano and looks up the mountainside where the avalanche hurtled down the slope yesterday
Rescuers have been digging through the huge piles of snow which crashed down onto the hotel when the snow came down the mountain
Up to 30 people are feared dead after an Italian ski hotel was buried by an avalanche during a series of earthquakes
Italy’s Civil Protection Agency said there had been around 30 guests and staff at the hotel on the eastern lower slopes of the Gran Sasso mountain
His boss, restaurant owner Quintino Marcella, said he received a phone call at 5.30pm on Wednesday.
He said: ‘He calls me and says ‘Help me, an avalanche has hit and the hotel isn’t there anymore. It’s disappeared. It’s buried. Two of us are here but call rescue crews.”’
Marcella said he immediately called police and the prefecture’s emergency coordination centre, but the prefect’s office assured him that the hotel had phoned two or three hours earlier reporting everything was OK.
Marcella said he frantically tried to call other emergency numbers but no one took him seriously. Speaking on Sky TG24, he said only hours later, after 8pm, did the response begin.
He said his chef kept saying ‘Help, help, help, help.’
Dramatic pictures from inside the hotel show how part of the building collapsed under the weight of the avalanche
Rescue workers continued to search for victims at the Hotel Rigopiano in the town of Farindola
The desperate phone call made by a chef who survived the disaster has been revealed. He told his boss: ‘Help me, an avalanche has hit and the hotel isn’t there anymore. It’s disappeared’
Rescuers were met with an eerie silence today as they arrived at the Hotel Rigopiano and began digging through the snow in an attempt to find survivors (pictured)
A police helicopter dropped off food supplies for rescuers at the scene of the disaster
He told an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, the group had all checked out of the Hotel Rigopiano and had gathered in the lobby.
But heavy snow had made the road outside impassable and they were waiting for a snow plough to clear a path up to the hotel.
As they waited in the foyer the avalanche cascaded down the mountainside, smashing into the hotel and burying them under a huge pile of snow.
Marcella told La Repubblica: ‘Giampaolo and all the other guests had paid and had reached the lobby, ready to go as soon as the snow plough arrived.’
‘They had already prepared suitcases. All the customers wanted to leave.’
Hopes of finding anyone alive in the snow and the wreck of the hotel are receding
Shocking images from inside the hotel show how snow had cascaded down stairways and corridors
Up to 30 people are feared to have been killed after an Italian ski hotel was buried by an avalanche during a series of earthquakes
There are reports this morning that as many as 30 people – guests and staff- are missing after the avalanche crashed in to the three-storey hotel, shifting it up to 30ft
A man is escorted by Alpine policemen and a fireman outside the Hotel Rigopiano, near the village of Farindola
Rescue teams are still battling to access the hotel – a task made more difficult by huge snow drifts in the area
Italian rescuers directed rescue cars at a road block in Farindola on Thursday
A road block is in place preventing people from entering the village where the tragedy struck
The BBC reported that three bodies had been found in the hotel but rescuers were searching for up to 25 others.
Earlier it was reported that desperate guests trapped inside the hotel sent texts to loved ones after the building was crushed.
One message, believed to have been sent from the four-star Hotel Rigopiano, said ‘Help, help, we are dying of the cold’ while another, sent from outside, urged those still caught inside to ‘be calm’.
Other trapped guests are reported to have sent texts directly to emergency services with phone lines in rooms said to have been cut off by the force of the avalanche.
Mountain emergency crews using cross country skis trekked six miles through the night to reach the hotel, battling through 15ft of snow which has fallen in a matter of days.
Rescuers, who have begun extracting bodies after battling through blizzard conditions to reach the hotel on skis or by helicopter, say there were no signs of life inside the building
Rescuers have started the grim task of excavating snow from the interior of the building
Another photograph shows the snow filling up the inside of the Hotel Rigopiano
A photograph shows the damage done inside the spa hotel after it was buried by the avalanche
Separate aerial video shows how a column of rescue vehicles attempting to reach the remote community had become completely stuck in huge snow drifts
A snow-plough truck made its way through the snow in order to reach the Rigopiano Hotel
A rescue convoy became stuck in snow drifts as emergency crews scrambled to reach the village
The Hotel Rigopiano pictured before the devastating avalanche hit yesterday (file photo)
Emergency crews were eventually able to fund a way in to the Hotel Rigopiano, which has been crushed by an avalanche
Police released images showing the damage done to the interior of the hotel following the avalanche
The hotel is located around 55 miles from the epicentre of the earthquakes yesterday
Earlier, it emerged that a father had survived the tragedy because he left to get headache medicine from his car for his wife when the avalanche hit the building.
But he told doctors the wall of snow had buried his wife and two children.
Rescuers, who have begun extracting bodies after battling through blizzard conditions to reach the hotel on skis or by helicopter, say there were no signs of life inside the building.
An aerial shot of the hotel released by the fire brigade showed just the last floor and the roof visible above a thick blanket of snow. Initial television pictures showed that mounds of snow and debris had smashed through a hotel wall into the lobby.
Haunting footage also shows how piles of snow and rubble had cascaded down stairways. The audio was silent.
The largest wall of snow shown was in the pool area, where plastic lounge chairs were flipped on their sides and Christmas decorations still dangled from the ceiling.
The bar area appeared flooded, with nearby cracked skylights covered with snow outside.
Separate aerial video shows how a column of rescue vehicles attempting to reach the remote community had become completely stuck in huge snow drifts.
Pictures emerging from the scene show how rescuers are having to contend with mountains of snow
Rescuers used shovels as they attempted to clear a pathway to the hotel where dozens are feared to have been buried
Rescue teams had to trek for six miles using cross country skis to reach Hotel Rigopiano, in the remote village of Farindola, in the Abruzzo region, which has been hit by heavy snowfall in the last week
Twenty firemen, two mountain rescue teams, six ambulances and local police were heading for the site last night, but the weather conditions were expected to cause major delays, a civil protection agency spokesman said
The head of the Italy’s civil protection authority, Fabrizio Curcio, says that authorities are confronting ‘two exceptional events that that already alone would have created great difficulty in the response.’
For the heavy snowfall, Curcio said: ‘We try to tell people to stay in their own homes, if they are secure, obviously. And in the areas of quakes, people should leave their homes. Putting together these two elements is extremely complicated.’
Mountain rescue teams reached the hotel by skis at around 4am local time, Sky TG24 reported.
An ambulance was blocked several miles from the hotel, according to Sky, while footage showed emergency services helicopters in the air near the scene
Rescue teams seen arriving in the town of Farindola, central Italy, following the disaster
A rescue truck making its way through Farindola, as another vehicle is seen buried in the snow
Blizzards in the area were hampering rescue operations as helicopters were brought in
A rescuer carries food supplied by an Italian Police helicopter in front of the hotel
Video footage showed rescuers with shovels digging through a wall of snow, and at least one man being led through the cleared path.
An ambulance was blocked several miles from the hotel, according to Sky, while footage showed emergency services helicopters in the air near the scene.
Italy’s Civil Protection Agency said there had been around 30 guests and staff at the hotel on the eastern lower slopes of the Gran Sasso mountain.
It said it could not immediately confirm any deaths out of respect for the families of the guests and staff.
A base camp for rescue workers has been set up in the nearby town of Penne (pictured)
A car is buried in snow in Penne, which is about six miles away from Farindola
A soldier pictured in the town of Amatrice after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region
Antonio Di Marco, president of the province of Pescara, which includes the mountain village of Farindola, said two people had been saved.
‘We don’t know yet how many people are unaccounted for or dead,’ he wrote on his Facebook page.
‘What is certain is that the building took a direct hit from the avalanche, to the point that it was moved by 10 metres.’
Farindola mayor Ilario Lacchetta said on his Facebook page that ‘the dimensions of the avalanche were huge
Rescuers have been facing tough conditions as they attempt to reach the scene of the avalanche
Video footage showed rescuers with shovels digging through a wall of snow, and at least one man being led through the cleared path
Tractors with snowploughs are being used in a desperate bid to clear roads in the area
Farindola mayor Ilario Lacchetta said on his Facebook page that ‘the dimensions of the avalanche were huge.
‘It took the whole hotel with it.’ he said.
The region was hit by four seismic shocks measuring above five magnitude in the space of four hours on Wednesday, with at least one person confirmed dead.
The hotel is located around 55 miles from the epicentre of the quakes.
Twenty firemen, two mountain rescue teams, six ambulances and local police were heading for the site last night, but the weather conditions were expected to cause major delays, a civil protection agency spokesman said.
EUROPE’S DEADLY AVALANCHES
Avalanches are a recurring threat in Europe’s mountain ranges, and have claimed dozens of lives in the past 20 years:
– 2016 –
FRANCE: Six deaths
Six French legionnaires on a training mission in the Cerces range near the Italian border died on January 18 when they were caught at an altitude of more than 6,000 feet.
ITALY: Six deaths
Five Italians and an Austrian who were mountain climbing died on March 12 when a 300 yard snowslide swept them away at an altitude of more than 10,800ft in the Monte Nevoso region near the border with Austria.
– 2015 –
FRANCE: 13 deaths
Four French men and two women were ski touring on January 24 in the Queyras range in eastern France when they were killed by an avalanche.
And on September 15 four Germans and three Czechs who were climbing in three teams died when an avalanche broke loose on the Dome de Neige des Écrins, a 13,170-foot peak in the French Alps. The summit is popular with tourists because it is readily accessible.
– 2012 –
FRANCE: Nine deaths
Nine climbers from Britain, Germany, Spain and Switzerland were killed on July 12 as they tried to scale the north face of Mont Maudit in the Mont-Blanc range in the French Alps.
– 2002 –
RUSSIA: 127 deaths
On September 20, a huge mass of rock and ice broke off a glacier and crushed the village of Nizhny Karmadon in the Caucasian republic of North Ossetia, leaving 127 people dead or missing. They included Sergei Bodrov junior, son of a prominent Russian director of the same name, who was filming with a crew when the disaster struck.
The glacier lies at an altitude of more than 8,000 ft between two peaks, Mount Kazbek 6,500 ft and the Elbruz 18,480 ft. The region’s president said millions of cubic metres of ice had cascaded over a distance of 20 miles.
– 2000 –
AUSTRIA: 12 deaths
On March 28, an avalanche killed 11 young ski instructors and a snow surfer on the Kitzsteinhorn, 50 miles southeast of Salzbourg.
– 1999 –
AUSTRIA: 38 deaths
A huge avalanche buried several houses and killed 31 people at the Galtuer ski area in western Austria’s Tyrol region on February 23. The next day, another slide killed seven more people in the nearby village of Valzur.
FRANCE: 12 deaths
On February 9, an avalanche swept away around 20 chalets near the village of Tour, in the Chamonix valley near Mont Blanc, killing 12 people.
– 1998 –
FRANCE: 11 deaths
Nine teenagers, a teacher and an instructor were killed as they were snow-shoeing on January 23 at an altitude of 7,200 ft near the Orres ski area in the southern French Alps.
Italy was hit by four earthquakes in four hours on Wednesday, killing one and bringing terror to snowbound mountain areas still recovering from last year’s series of deadly tremors.
The quakes, all measuring more than five magnitude, struck close to Amatrice, the mountain town devastated by an August earthquake that left nearly 300 people dead.
The body of one victim was found under the debris of a building in the town of Castel Castagna, in the province of Teramo, local authorities said in a statement.
And as night fell and temperatures plummeted, fears mounted for isolated residents of remote hamlets cut off by heavy snowfall, while more than 130,000 homes were without electricity.
A mother and child dragged from the ruins of a collapsed country cottage near Teramo in the Abruzzo region were both found to be suffering from hypothermia.
Italy’s Civil Protection Agency said there had been around 30 guests and staff at the Hotel Rigopiano on the eastern lower slopes of the Gran Sasso mountain when the first of four powerful quakes hit the region on Wednesday morning
Antonio Di Marco, president of the province of Pescara, which includes the mountain village of Farindola where the hotel is located, said two people had been saved
The region was hit by four seismic shocks measuring above five magnitude in the space of four hours on Wednesday, with at least one person confirmed dead
Shortly before dusk, Nello Patrizi, a farmer in Montereale, south of Amatrice, was out with his dog, trying to check on cows knee-deep in snow.
‘It was an apocalyptic shock. We were petrified,’ the 63-year-old told AFP.
‘The first one was bad enough, the others seemed even stronger. You had the impression everything was collapsing, people were screaming.
‘With all the snow there was this morning, people could not get out of their houses. I thought ‘all we need now is an earthquake’ and here it is.’
Fabio di Gianfrancesco, 55, drove from Rome to another hamlet, Aringo, to check on elderly relatives.
‘They were trapped in the house because of the snow,’ he said. ‘We got them out and then helped the last 10 or so residents here to leave.’
Around 160 people were preparing to spend the night under the canvas of a giant tent on a local sports field.
Wednesday’s first shock struck at 10.25 am local time.
A hotel in central Italy was hit by an avalanche on Wednesday, and rescuers are trying to ascertain whether there are any victims, Italian media reported
Three people were believed missing after the avalanche hit the hotel in Pescara, a province in the Abruzzo region
Four strong earthquakes have shaken the same region of central Italy that suffered deadly tremors last year, and could have had an affect on the avalanche
As night fell and temperatures plummeted, fears mounted for isolated residents of remote hamlets cut off by heavy snowfall, while more than 130,000 homes were without electricity
Monitors put its strength at between 5.1 and 5.3 magnitude. A second, 50 minutes later, was measured between 5.4 and 5.7.
A third, minutes later, measured 5.3, while one of more than 100 major aftershocks was measured at 5.1 at 2.30 pm.
The tremors were felt powerfully across the Abruzzo, Lazio and Marche regions and clearly in Rome, over 100 kilometres (60 miles) away.
Residents of Aquila, where over 300 people died in a 2009 earthquake, rushed into the snow-covered streets in panic but the city suffered little damage.
Avalanche warnings were issued across a region that has a number of ski resorts and a highest peak, Gran Sasso, at 2,912 metres (9,554 feet).
In Amatrice, the belltower of the 15th Century Church of Sant’Agostino collapsed. It had been damaged by the first of the earthquakes which struck the mountainous centre of the country between August and October last year.
Shell-shocked residents from the village of Montereale arrive to set up for the night in a large tent on a nearby sports ground
Road block: Thick snow covering earthquake hit areas of Colledara in Italy have been hampering rescue operations
Most of those who died in that quake were in the town, a beauty spot which was packed with holidaymakers at the height of the summer season.
Two further quakes rattled the region in October, with the most powerful measuring 6.5 magnitude.
Amatrice mayor Sergio Pirozzi cursed his town’s bad luck.
‘I don’t know if we did something bad. That’s what I have been asking since yesterday. We have got up to two metres of snow and now another earthquake!’
Stefano Petrucci, mayor of nearby Accumoli, said roads were unpassable and bemoaned a shortage of clearance trucks. ‘We can’t fight a war with bows and arrows.’
The affected area is thinly populated and thousands of residents were evacuated last year pending reconstruction of their homes.
The last of the 2016 quakes, on October 30, was the most powerful since a 6.9 magnitude one struck near Naples in southern Italy in 1980, leaving 3,000 people dead.
Much of the country’s land mass and some of its surrounding waters are prone to seismic activity with the highest risk concentrated along its mountainous central spine.
Italy straddles the Eurasian and African tectonic plates, making it vulnerable when they move.
The worst disaster of the 20th century was in 1908 when an estimated 95,000 died in tidal waves following a quake in the sea between mainland Italy and Sicily.