Rigopiano hotel: Italian media reports manager begged for help hours before avalanche

Rigopiano hotel: Italian media reports manager raised avalanche concerns ahead of disaster

A rescue worker works his way through the remains of the Rigipiano hotel

Monday, January 23, 2017

It has emerged that the manager of the Italian hotel decimated by last week's avalanche begged for help in the run-up to the disaster.

A series of earthquakes in central Italy dislodged snow in the Gran Sasso region, which hit the Rigopiano hotel overnight on Wednesday

The hotel was heavily damaged and displaced down the mountainside by the force of the avalanche - which weighed roughly 120,000 tonnes - with the heavy amount of snow also hindering relief efforts. At least six people have died in the incident and it is feared the death toll could rise significantly. 

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.

The hotel was revealed to be in dire circumtances which were steadily worsening, for the bad weather had disrupted the phone network and the hotel's supply of diesel fuel was predicted to run out the following day. 

Most of the guests had taken shelter on the ground floor of the hotel to await evacuation when the avalanche hit. 

The search for 23 other individuals who remain trapped under the snow continues.