Five survivors have been rescued from the ruins of a hotel buried by an avalanche in the Gran Sasso Mountain in the central region of Abruzzo in Italy, Italian state television said late on Friday.
The avalanche buried the Hotel Rigopiano in the mountains after at least five strong earthquakes struck the area on Wednesday, killing two people and leaving more than 30 people missing as of Thursday.
According to state television reports, ten survivors have been found beneath the snow-covered ruins and five of them have been rescued and rushed to hospital in the neighboring city of Penne as of 22:00 on Friday. The rescue workers are maintaining contact with the survivors who remain trapped.
A doctor confirmed that the conditions of the survivors are improving in the hospital.
Medical experts said the thick clothes worn by the survivors and an ample oxygen supply in the air beneath the ruins had aided their survival.
The rescue operation faces severe challenges as snow continued to hit the area on Friday night. Vehicles are finding it difficult to gain access to the hotel. Except for those vehicles used in the rescue, the town of Farindola offers the closest place to reach the hotel for regular vehicles.
A rescue worker told local media that the powerful force of the avalanche even threw some of the hotel’s mattresses and pillows up to 400 meters away.