ROME — At least 24 people died in an avalanche that crushed a ski resort in Italy’s central Abruzzo region last week, Italian authorities confirmed on Wednesday.
The official death toll was updated by the Civil Protection Department.
“Among 24 victims recovered so far, there are 13 men and 11 women,” civil protection official Titti Postiglione told a press conference.
“Twelve of the victims are still to be identified. Our mission will continue until all people are recovered,” she added.
Overall, some 40 guests and employees were believed to be inside the facility when the huge snow-slide occurred, engulfing the hotel under meters of snow and mud, according to the local authorities.
Eleven people survived, including nine located alive under the ruins of the hotel. Four children were involved in the incident, and all of them were rescued.
At least five people remain missing.
Some 200 officers from several of Italy’s emergency departments were at work at the site, according to Postiglione.
The avalanche hit the Rigopiano hotel, a luxury ski resort between the village of Farindola and the 2,912-meter Gran Sasso peak, in the late afternoon of Jan. 18.
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said “every effort has been made” to save the lives of those involved in the disaster.
Addressing the parliament on the emergency in the morning, Gentiloni praised the work of the country’s rescue services, and pledged a government’s decree with emergency measures for next week.
Central Italy, and especially the Abruzzo region, was hit with four strong earthquakes last Wednesday, which added to severe weather conditions and heavy snowfall and made all rescue efforts much more difficult. PNA/Xinhua-northboundasia.com