Dozens feared dead after avalanche covers Italian hotel

  • 19/01/2017
Earthquake rubble Italy 2016 (Reuters)
The overnight quakes rattled the same area as was hit last year (Reuters / file)

At least 30 people are missing after an avalanche buried a mountain hotel in an earthquake-hit region of central Italy, authorities say.

The civil protection agency said on Thursday they were working to get rescue vehicles to the Hotel Rigopiano through roads covered in snow, joining initial rescue efforts overnight by alpine rescue teams.

The news agency ANSA quoted a rescuer as saying there were fatalities, but details were not immediately available.

Italian media said the avalanche covered the three-storey hotel in the central region of Abruzzo on Wednesday.

The hotel is about 45km from the coastal city of Pescara.

Mountain rescue teams reached the hotel by skis about 4am (local time), SKY TG24 reported.

Video footage showed rescuers digging through a wall of snow, and at least one man being led through the cleared path.

An ambulance was blocked several kilometres from the hotel, according to SKY.

Earthquakes hit the region on Wednesday, including one with a 5.7 magnitude, but it was not immediately clear if the temblors triggered the avalanche.