Speed Reads

Nature's Nightmares

Italian hotel buried under avalanche, with several deaths feared

On Wednesday evening, an avalanche likely triggered by earthquakes buried the Hotel Rigopiano in the central Italian town of Farindola, in the Gran Sasso mountains in Abruzzo. There were at least 20 guests and seven staff members in the hotel, according to rescuers and local officials, and Antonio Crocetta, the head of a mountain rescue team, told Italian media "there are many deaths," though no deaths have yet been confirmed. Because of days of snow that blanketed Abruzzo, Lazio, and Le Marche, rescue crews on skis did not reach the hotel until about 4 a.m. Thursday. Helicopters arrived with more personnel after dawn.

Earthquakes in the same region or Italy last August killed 298 people. (This article has been updated throughout.)