All bodies have now been recovered from Italy's avalanche hotel

AFP - [email protected] • 26 Jan, 2017 Updated Thu 26 Jan 2017 09:29 CEST
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The bodies of all 29 missing people have been recovered at Italy's avalanche-hit Hotel Rigopiano, local authorities said on Wednesday evening.


The January 18th disaster saw the Hotel Rigopiano ripped from its foundations by the force of a wall of tree and mud-packed snow hurtling down the hillside into which it was built.

Eleven people, including all four children at the hotel at the time, survived.

The deadly avalanche followed the heaviest snowfall seen in the mountains of central Italy in decades and may have been triggered by a series of powerful earthquakes which rocked the region earlier the same day.

The combination of the extreme weather and the quakes has claimed at least 11 lives unrelated to the hotel disaster.

Six of them came in a helicopter crash at the Campo Felice ski resort on Tuesday.

IN VIDEOS: The tremendous rescue efforts at avalanche-hit Rigopiano

The last survivors extracted from the rubble were pulled out on Saturday after having been located on Friday morning. They were all suffering from mild hypothermia.

The discovery of three puppies five days after the avalanche raised hope that more people could be alive in 'air pockets', but no further human survivors were found.

A prosecutor is examining whether the disaster could have been avoided with better risk-assessment procedures.

But Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has warned against launching a hunt for scapegoats to assuage the grief of those who have lost loved ones.

"Every possible effort was made to reach the hotel," Gentiloni told parliament on Wednesday.

"We are proud of the emergency services who were confronted with absolutely exceptional snowfalls and two of whom gave their lives," he added, in a reference to two mountain rescuers who died in the helicopter crash.



AFP 2017/01/26 09:29

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