"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 numerous missing could be.
The dogs-all shaggy white Abruzzo sheepdog puppies-are proof that there's still air pockets in the collapsed building, the Guardian reports.
Around two metres, or more than six feet, of snow had fallen and the hotel was totally cut off, with diesel for the hotel generators at risk of running out within a day. Reportedly at least five bodies have been discovered earlier in the rubble of the luxury Hotel Rigopiano, in the Gran Sasso mountains, 115 miles northeast of Rome.
Now, Italian media has published emails sent by the manager, Bruno Di Tommaso, to a number of officials, including the local police chief, to say the guests were "terrified by the earthquakes" and request intervention.
In a last attempt to find other survivors, rescuers are now digging a new route into the rubble. Among the 10 people pulled out alive was a plucky 6-year-old who just wanted her favorite cookies.
Puppies found alive 5 days after Italy avalanche
And as the desperate search continued for survivors at the Hotel Rigopiano Sunday, harrowing accounts emerged from survivors of how tonnes of snow hit the four-star resort.
Most of the guests had taken shelter on the ground floor of the hotel to await evacuation when the avalanche hit.
Firefighter spokesman Luca Cari said emergency crews were working with an "operational hypothesis" that people might still be alive, but he stressed "we are fighting against time". The first survivors released Monday from a hospital in the nearby city of Pescara included Giorgia Galassi and her boyfriend, Vincenzo Forti.
"The hotel guests are terrorised by the earthquakes and have chose to stay out in the open", Bruno Di Tommaso wrote. "We've tried to do everything to keep them calm, but since they can't leave due to the blocked roads, they're prepared to spend the night in their cars". Quintino Marcella said he called the office after receiving word from Parete, one of his chefs who was vacationing at the hotel.
Italian media published an email sent by the hotel manager on January 18 to an array of local authorities, urging help to clear the roads so guests could escape after powerful earthquakes rattled the region. She said "at most" the delay in launching the avalanche response was an hour or two. "I shouted, 'I am Giorgia and I am alive.' It was the most handsome thing I have ever said".
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