Italian avalanche survivor tells of eating snow and ice while trapped

Italy avalanche rescue Riopiano Hotel (Reuters)
Rescuers remain hopeful some people will still be found alive (Reuters)

One of the survivors of an Italian avalanche says they were forced to eat ice and snow to survive.

At least six people were killed when the avalanche buried Riopiano Hotel on Wednesday last week (local time), and 24 people remain missing.

The rescue has been hampered by poor weather but nine people have so far been found alive.

Giorgia Galassi, a 22-year-old student, was one of those rescued and told local media they had "nothing" to eat while they were trapped.

"The only thing we ate was ice. We had a lot and this kept us going," she told newspaper Corriere della Sera.

When the avalanche hit, a number of the hotel's guests had gathered on the ground floor preparing to evacuate after several earthquakes earlier in the day.

The avalanche collapsed the room into a dome with four caverns.

"I really had this feeling of being closed in a box, with snow above that covered every noise," Ms Galassi said.

Rescuers remain hopeful some people will still be found alive.