Italy: Up to 30 people missing after Rigopiano hotel hit by avalanche

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As many as 30 people are still missing after an avalanche hit a hotel in central Italy.

Rescuers arrived at the four-star Rigopiano hotel, close to the Gran Sasso mountain in the Abruzzo region, at 04:00 local time (03:00 GMT) on Thursday, and searched for survivors overnight. Three people have been rescued alive, but the body of one person was also uncovered and the majority of guests remain buried in the snow.

At least 20 tourists and seven staff are believed to have been inside the hotel when the avalanche struck.

The mountainous region of central Italy was hit by four earthquakes on Wednesday, followed by a number of tremors overnight, with the seismic activity blamed for the avalanche.

A snowstorm and poor weather conditions have also brought down power lines and cut off villages, making the rescue effort more difficult.

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