Viet Nam News
PENNE — Rescuers recovered three puppies from under the rubble of Italy’s avalanche-hit hotel on Monday sparking fresh hopes some of the 22 people still missing after five days could be found alive.
Firefighter Fabio Jerman said the discovery of the three shaggy white Abruzzo sheepdog pups meant there were still air pockets in the collapsed luxury spa resort, "an important sign of life, which gives us hope".
But as light began to fade, the body of a woman was recovered from the rubble, bringing the number of the dead to seven.
A new route was being dug into the wreck in a last-ditch effort to find survivors, as questions mounted as to whether the disaster could have been avoided.
"It’s a race against time, we know we need to go fast, but it’s not an easy working environment," fire service spokesman Luca Cari said as teams worked feverishly to reach the centre of the resort, where they believe many of the missing could be.
An email sent by the hotel to local authorities pleading for help just hours before Wednesday’s tragedy has gone viral.
Although the email did not mention fears of an avalanche it described the mounting panic of guests trapped in the hotel by snow as earthquakes shook the region.
Five days after the huge avalanche, which struck with the force of 4,000 trucks driving full speed, the small, fresh sign of life within the concrete tomb spurred rescuers on.
The puppies were born in December in the ill-fated Hotel Rigopiano to Lupo and Nuvola (Wolf and Cloud), who escaped when the avalanche hit and were found the following day in a nearby hamlet.
Nine people pulled out alive on Friday had described being trapped in tiny spaces, eating dirty snow in the pitch black to survive.
Burrowing narrow holes in the snow and rubble, rescue workers have been painstakingly searching each room of the lodge. — AFP