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Nature's Nightmares

Italy ends search of avalanche-crushed hotel, with 29 dead, 9 rescued

On Thursday, rescue crews said they have now accounted for everyone who was staying at the Hotel Rigopiano in central Italy, a week after it was buried by at least 60,000 tons of snow, rock, and trees in an avalanche. The final death toll is 29, with nine survivors who were pulled out from the wreckage early on, including all four children at the hotel. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Italy will conduct a criminal investigation to see if anyone is culpable for initially dismissing calls for help as a prank or other missteps that led to the disaster, but told lawmakers that the avalanche was due to an unpredictable confluence of heavy snowstorm and four powerful earthquakes in the region.