Italy avalanche: 10 survivors found alive in hotel

One of the survivors found on Friday was a young girl, said Deputy Interior Minister Filippo Bubbico, who is helping co-ordinate rescue efforts at the scene. But he said, "Other people have responded to our signals".

Two of the six people found are children, Bini said, but it's not clear if either of them have been pulled out yet.

Up to this point, only three bodies had been recovered from the 4-star Hotel Rigopiano.

Evacuated by helicopter, the rescued survivors were taken to hospitals in the cities of Pescara and Aquila.

Footage filmed by the rescuers and broadcast on Italian television showed numerous rooms remained intact, raising hopes of more survivors.

Titi Postiglione, operations chief of the civil protection agency, also said survivors would be helping rescuers trying to find others trapped in the hotel.

Rescuer Lorenzo Gagliardi told Italian channel SKY Tg24: "We are hoping that the ceiling collapsed partially in some places and that someone remained underneath".

Public broadcaster RAI reported the six were found in an attic.

The four-star hotel, at the foot of the Gran Sasso mountain about 135 kilometers (85 miles) northeast of Rome, was buried in snow Wednesday afternoon local time after a series of earthquakes.

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A manslaughter investigation has been opened into the incident over the possibility that the threat of an avalanche was not taken seriously enough, reported the Italian media. Mr Parete had left the hotel briefly to get some medicine for his wife from their auto, and survived as a result.

The Italian government is expected to declare a state of emergency later on Friday.

Police say the discovery has given the rescue effort a massive boost.

The 300-metre wide snow slide uprooted trees and wiped out parts of the four-storey hotel, trapping dozens of people.

Workers found the survivors at the ruins of the isolated hotel in central Italy; at least 20 others are missing. Two survivors escaped when they left the building minutes before the avalanche. Meanwhile, the season's unusually heavy snow fall has been more than the mountains could contain.

But rescue operations have been challenging.

Rescue workers at the avalanche site were still hunting for their daughter, 6-year-old Ludovica, after her mother indicated she was still alive under the debris. In Campotosto, the government deployed the military to assist with the evacuation of certain houses.

The region was hit by four seismic shocks with a magnitude of above 5 in the space of four hours on Wednesday. They were also centred near Amatrice, the town devastated in an August quake, in which almost 300 people died.

  • Sonia Alvarado