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Two Dead, 30 Missing After Avalanche Buries Italian Hotel


An aerial view shows the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, after it was hit by an avalanche on January 19.

Authorities in Italy say 30 people are still missing and feared dead, more 24 hours after an avalanche buried a mountain hotel in an earthquake-hit central region of the country.

Authorities confirmed the recovery of the bodies of two victims who were buried beneath snow and rocks from the January 18 avalanche.

But on the evening of January 19, only two survivors had been rescued.

The head of Italy's civil protection department, Fabrizio Curcio, said authorities still had not accounted for about 30 guests and employees of the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, a town in the Abruzzo region.

Rescue efforts were hampered by up to 5 meters of snow that has fallen in the Gran Sasso mountain range in recent days.

It was unclear whether earthquakes that struck the area on January 18 had triggered the avalanche.

Central Italy has been hit by a several quakes in recent months, including a quake in August that killed nearly 300 people.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa