Italy rescue crews hold out hope of more hotel survivors

 22 Jan 2017 - 13:53

Italy rescue crews hold out hope of more hotel survivors
A handout picture released on January 21, 2017 by the Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (CNSAS) shows a wall of snow engulfing the inside of the Hotel Rigopiano, near the village of Farindola, on the eastern lower slopes of the Gran Sasso mountain on January 19, 2017. AFP / CNSAS


FARINDOLA, Italy: Rescue crews digging through an Italian hotel buried in an avalanche say there could be additional survivors more than three days after tons of snow came barreling down a mountainside.

Rescuers told reporters in the central Apennine mountains on Sunday morning there are air pockets in some of the Hotel Rigopiano's wreckage. But they haven't been able to reach all those areas yet.

Nine survivors from the Wednesday evening avalanche were located in air pockets inside the crushed hotel on Friday. Rescue officials say there are other spaces where some of the 23 people still missing might be found alive.

Five bodies have been recovered from the hotel's wreckage.

Rain is making the snow heavy and complicating the manual rescue operation. Officials say the risk of fresh avalanches is high.