Earthquake BBC

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Italy avalanche rescuers race to find Rigopiano hotel survivors

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 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38685489

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Rescuers in Italy still hope to find survivors after an avalanche struck a mountain hotel, killing at least four people and leaving about 25 still missing in the snow.

Teams have been working at the scene for more than 24 hours.

The disaster struck the remote Rigopiano hotel, in the central Abruzzo region, after several earthquakes.

Rescuers have recovered three bodies. Two survivors, affected by hypothermia, have been sent to hospital.

Two people who were outside the hotel at the time of the avalanche survived. Children are among the missing.

The earthquakes, four of which were stronger than magnitude 5, terrified residents of rural areas who were already struggling with harsh conditions after heavy snowfall buried phone lines and took out power cables.

Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni called for national unity, saying Italy was caught in an “unprecedented vice of frost and earthquakes”.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the rest of the EU stood ready to help because “an earthquake in Italy is an earthquake in Europe”.

How difficult is the search?

Teams had to ski and shovel their way towards the site of the avalanche, reaching the hotel only at 04:30 (03:30 GMT) on Thursday.

 

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Snow blocking an approach road held up a vast column of emergency vehicles.

“The upper part of the hotel it’s not there anymore – it’s full of snow inside the different rooms,” said Dr Gianluca Fachetti, who was with the rescue teams.

“But there are several floors and we think most part of the people are on the first floor not the second or third, and it’s very difficult but anyway we hope there could be someone still alive.”

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“There is always hope, if there were no hope the rescuers wouldn’t give everything they’ve got,” Fabrizio Curcio, head of Italy’s civil protection department, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

His teams, he said, would “continue to do everything possible during the night”.

Paying tribute to the dedication of the rescuers, Prime Minister Gentiloni added: “I want to say that we are all holding our breath after what happened last night with the avalanche.”

What happened?

It appears the guests had gathered on the ground floor of the four-star spa hotel, close to the Gran Sasso mountain, to await evacuation following the earthquakes

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Twenty-two guests and seven staff members were registered as being at the hotel, among them children, but rescuers say the actual number could be 35.

The avalanche struck some time between 16:30 and 17:40, based on messages and calls sent by people at the hotel.

It partially brought down the roof and, according to some reports, shifted the building 10m (11 yards) off its foundations.

A guest who was outside the building at the time raised the alarm with his phone.

Giampiero Parete, whose wife and two children are missing, said he had gone to get something from his car: “I was covered by the snow but I managed to get out. The car was not submerged and I waited for the rescuers to arrive.”

Mr Parete, who was taken to hospital with a fellow survivor, continued to make phone calls but it reportedly took until 20:00 before his pleas were acted on by the authorities.

Who are the missing?

A list of 23 names given by La Stampa newspaper suggests that most are Italians but they include a Swiss national and a Romanian.

Three are children aged six, seven and nine, and the oldest person on the list is a man of 60.

Seven of the missing are from the neighbouring region of Le Marche.

A couple from Le Marche who are not recorded in La Stampa’s list, Marco Vagnarelli and Paola Tomassini, were last heard from at 16:30 on Wednesday, when Marco contacted his brother Fulvio on WhatsApp, Ansa reports. The avalanche had still not started at that point.

Marco had told his brother that their departure from the area was being delayed by the bad weather.

Analysis: Why so many quakes in Italy?

By Jonathan Amos, BBC science correspondent

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The Apennines region saw three magnitude-6 tremors between August and October. A succession of quakes like this is often how the geology works.

The big picture is reasonably well understood. Wider tectonic forces in the Earth’s crust have led to the Apennines being pulled apart at a rate of roughly 3mm per year – about a 10th of the speed at which your fingernails grow.

But this stress is then spread across a multitude of different faults that cut through the mountains. And this network is fiendishly complicated.

It does now look as though August’s event broke two neighbouring faults, starting on one known as the Laga and then jumping across to one called the Vettore.

Then came October with a swathe of quakes that broke the rest of the Vetorre. But the stress, according to the seismologists, wasn’t just sent north, it was loaded south as well – south of August’s event.

And it’s in this zone that we have now seen a series of quakes in recent days. About a dozen magnitude fours and fives.

19 thoughts on “Earthquake BBC

  1. Such devastation in such a beautiful area is hard to comprehend.I pray that the rescuers are able to find more survivors, but only time will tell. My prayers go out to all, especially family and friends and to the rescuers who have such a difficult task .

  2. The news is a little more comforting, 8 people respond to messages, 2 have already been extracted. They proceed to dig.
    We hope there are other survivors.

  3. Thank you for the information and updates. Concern for all people during a devastating event and because of our love for Gianluca and IL Volo it touches us more.

  4. Thanks Marie and Daniela for keeping us up to date. I know that Gianluca is upset and worried so we need to send good thought to everyone involved. It is hard to imagine the amount of snow when today we will have 75 in Waco.

  5. Two additional articles with comprehensive coverage can be found at Ansa.it and Daily Mail.uk. The Daily Mail article is especially in depth and current in coverage.

  6. I was hoping when I got up this morning, there would be some good news. Thank You God!
    I am crying tears of joy!
    Also, we know Gianluca is a loving, caring man, so who cares what the media think’s!

    so who cares what the media think’s!

  7. Our television was showing news from Italy:Giampiero´s wife and small son are rescued and OK (her doughter still seek).Giampiero =cook was to his car and first report lavin announced.All 8 people survived in “air pocket” in the kitchen.
    There is still hope that he would survive others too (with help from God).

  8. Updates: extracted three other children including the daughter of Giampiero. Until now the survivors are 10 but we continue to hope.

  9. Gianluca Ginoble – interview about the tragic avalanche at Hotel Rigopiano – 19th Jan 2017 from Il Volo Translations on Vimeo.

    Here is Gianluca’s interview on TGcom24 regarding the tragic avalanche at Hotel Rigopiano in Abruzzo – with English subtitles. Gianluca is great friends with the owner, Roberto, and his family. Gianluca was due to be staying at the hotel at the time of the avalanche, but decided not to go at the last minute, due to the poor weather conditions and heavy snow. It is a miracle that he was not also trapped in the hotel. At the time of writing this, several people have died – but there has just been the good news that 11 people and 2 dogs are still alive, some 45 hours after the avalanche first hit. Rescue is currently underway to rescue these people, who have been trapped there for all this time in the freezing temperatures. We sincerely hope that they are safely rescued, and that others are found alive too. Our hearts are with Italy at this difficult time of earthquakes, avalanches and out of control wild-fires.
    As always, please click on the little CC at the bottom right hand side of the screen (you may need to hover there to see it), and then choose ‘English’ to see the subtitles.

    Thanks Ann (Ann Cruise) for the update

    • No, Jill, so far there is no official news.
      4 are dead, two women and two men, but the two men were those found immediately, yesterday found among the rubble the bodies of two women.
      The good news is that they have identified the voices of at least 5 other people, the recovery operations going forward.
      We hope and pray

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