"Many dead" in Abruzzo avalanche

Abruzzo hotel buried by avalanche after earthquakes hit central Italian region.

Alpine rescue workers fear numerous deaths after a hotel on the Gran Sasso mountain in Abuzzo was hit by an avalanche, apparently triggered by a series of earthquakes in central Italy on 18 January.

There were up to 30 people inside the four-storey Rigopiano hotel when it was hit by the "immense avalanche", according to rescuers who could only reach the scene on skis at dawn on 19 January.

The alarm was raised by a hotel guest who survived because he went to get something in his car, however rescue workers are holding out little hope of finding anybody alive after 24 hours trapped under the snow.

Due to the scale of the avalanche, as well as an ongoing snowstorm and blocked access routes, emergency services are stuck 9 km away from the hotel which is partially collapsed, partially submerged under snow.