News outlets are reporting that firefighters have pulled six survivors, including two children, from the partially collapsed Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, Italy.
Earlier this week four intense magnitude 5 earthquakes and heavy snow hit central Italy, prompting an avalanche to dump 17 feet of snow on the luxury hotel and trap about 30 people inside the remote resort. Rescue attempts had been hampered since Wednesday by heavy snow, fallen trees, and debris blocking the five mile road that leads to the mountainside property. By Thursday, only 25 vehicles and about 135 rescue workers had reached the scene to search for survivors with shovels; an Alpine rescue team arrived by cross-country skis, followed by a response team via snow mobiles, and firefighters were dropped in by helicopter.
But today, back-breaking efforts were rewarded and spirits were lifted when firefighters pulled survivors who clung to life for more than 40 hours, in an air pocket in the kitchen, out of the rubble.
"It's a miracle," said Senator Federica Chiavaroli, a deputy justice minister who was at the rescue staging area. "Rescuers have never given up hope and they never stopped believing. Now their hope has been reinvigorated."