Death toll from Italy avalanche rises to 23

Six people are still missing as hopes of finding survivors fade one week after the avalanche razed Hotel Rigopiano in central Italy.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Rescue teams working at the avalanche-hit Hotel Rigopiano, near the village of Farindola, on the eastern lower slopes of the Gran Sasso mountain, Italy, January 23, 2017.

The death toll from an avalanche that destroyed a hotel in central Italy a week ago soared to 23 after more bodies were pulled from the wreckage overnight, the national fire brigade said on Wednesday.

Six people are still missing.

A fireman carries a puppy found at the avalanche-hit Hotel Rigopiano in central Italy, January 23, 2017. (AFP)

Eleven people have been rescued from in and around Hotel Rigopiano in the Gran Sasso National Park, some of them surviving for two days under ice and rubble.

The last of them were pulled from the submerged ruins of the luxury spa early on Saturday, and hopes of finding anyone else alive are fading.

Many guests at the hotel wanted to return home but were unable to leave because the access road was blocked by snow.

Authorities are investigating the effectiveness of the rescue services, the level of avalanche warnings and the planning permission granted to the hotel in the wake of the disaster, which followed heavy snow and a flurry of earthquakes in the region.

TRTWorld, Reuters