Italy avalanche: Eight people found alive inside buried hotel

ROME — Rescuers located eight people alive Friday inside a Italian hotel that was buried under an avalanche, officials said.

The survivors included two girls.

Helicopters carrying equipment and medical personnel were called in to attempt to remove the survivors from the rubble and as much as 16 feet of snow. They had been trapped for more than 40 hours.

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Hotel in Italy hit by avalanche
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Hotel in Italy hit by avalanche
A mountain view from the main road to Monterale, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region, on January 19, 2017. Several people have died after a ski hotel was buried by an avalanche in earthquake-hit central Italy, local media reported quoting rescue services. 'There are many dead,' Antonio Crocetta, the head of a group of Alpine police that was trying to reach the cut-off hotel, was quoted as saying. / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters arrive near Hotel Rigopiano, hit by an avalanche, in Farindola, central Italy, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italy's firefighters. Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
An aerial view shows Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italy's firefighters. Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Snow covers a car of the Italian Civil Protection (Protezione Civile) parked at a nearby sports ground in Montereale, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region, on January 19, 2017. / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
A car drives along the main road to Monterale, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region, on January 19, 2017. Several people have died after a ski hotel was buried by an avalanche in earthquake-hit central Italy, local media reported quoting rescue services. 'There are many dead,' Antonio Crocetta, the head of a group of Alpine police that was trying to reach the cut-off hotel, was quoted as saying. / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken from a video shows the snow inside the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italy's Finance Police.
A photo taken from a video shows the snow inside the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italy's Finance Police.
A photo taken from a video shows the snow inside the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italy's Finance Police.
An aerial photo shows the rescuers heading to Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italian Police.
A photo taken from a video shows a survivor, helped by rescuers, coming out from Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italy's Finance Police.
A photo taken from a video shows a rescuer entering the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italy's Finance Police.
A photo taken from a video shows a rescuer entering the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italy's Finance Police.
Dogs stand in front of a large tent on a nearby sports ground in Montereale, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region, on January 19, 2017. Several people have died after a ski hotel was buried by an avalanche in earthquake-hit central Italy, local media reported quoting rescue services. 'There are many dead,' Antonio Crocetta, the head of a group of Alpine police that was trying to reach the cut-off hotel, was quoted as saying. / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
A mountain view taken along the main road to Monterale, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region, on January 19, 2017. Several people have died after a ski hotel was buried by an avalanche in earthquake-hit central Italy, local media reported quoting rescue services. 'There are many dead,' Antonio Crocetta, the head of a group of Alpine police that was trying to reach the cut-off hotel, was quoted as saying. / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Two dogs wonder past a vehicle and mounds of snow at a nearby sports ground in Montereale, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region, on January 19, 2017. Several people have died after a ski hotel was buried by an avalanche in earthquake-hit central Italy, local media reported quoting rescue services. 'There are many dead,' Antonio Crocetta, the head of a group of Alpine police that was trying to reach the cut-off hotel, was quoted as saying. / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
A mountain view from the main road to Monterale, after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck the region, on January 19, 2017. Several people have died after a ski hotel was buried by an avalanche in earthquake-hit central Italy, local media reported quoting rescue services. 'There are many dead,' Antonio Crocetta, the head of a group of Alpine police that was trying to reach the cut-off hotel, was quoted as saying. / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken from a video shows a survivor, helped by rescuers, coming out from Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 handout picture provided by Italy's Finance Police.     
A still image taken from a video shows firefighters working at Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, after it was hit by an avalanche, January 20, 2017 provided by Italy's Fire Fighters. Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
A still image taken from a video shows a firefighter working at Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, after it was hit by an avalanche, January 20, 2017 provided by Italy's Fire Fighters. Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
A still image taken from a video shows firefighters working at Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, after it was hit by an avalanche, January 20, 2017 provided by Italy's Fire Fighters.Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
A still image taken from a video shows the snow inside the Hotel Rigopiano, central Italy, after it was hit by an avalanche, January 20, 2017 provided by Italy's Fire Fighters. Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Firefighters work at Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, after it was hit by an avalanche, in this handout picture released on January 20, 2017 provided by Italy's Fire Fighters. Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Italian air helicopters rescuers join the rescue operation near the village of Penne, after an avalanche engulfed the mountain hotel Rigopiano in Farindola in the earthquake-ravaged central Italy, on January 20, 2017. At least 25 people, including several children, were feared dead after a barrage of snow hit the Hotel Rigopiano on Januray 18, afternoon, ripping the three-storey building from its foundations and moving it ten metres (11 yards). / AFP / Andreas SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Italian air helicopters rescuers join the rescue operation near the village of Penne, after an avalanche engulfed the mountain hotel Rigopiano in Farindola in the earthquake-ravaged central Italy, on January 20, 2017. At least 25 people, including several children, were feared dead after a barrage of snow hit the Hotel Rigopiano on Januray 18, afternoon, ripping the three-storey building from its foundations and moving it ten metres (11 yards). / AFP / Andreas SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Italian air helicopters rescuers join the rescue operation near the village of Penne, after an avalanche engulfed the mountain hotel Rigopiano in Farindola in the earthquake-ravaged central Italy, on January 20, 2017. At least 25 people, including several children, were feared dead after a barrage of snow hit the Hotel Rigopiano on Januray 18, afternoon, ripping the three-storey building from its foundations and moving it ten metres (11 yards). / AFP / Andreas SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescuers remove snow next to a house on a road to the village of Penne, after an avalanche engulfed the mountain hotel Rigopiano in Farindola in earthquake-ravaged central Italy, on January 19, 2017. At least 25 people, including several children, were feared dead after a barrage of snow hit the Hotel Rigopiano on Wednesday afternoon, ripping the three-storey building from its foundations and moving it ten metres (11 yards). / AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
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"We always hoped to find someone alive," Titti Postiglione, of Italy's civil protection agency, told reporters. "The fact we found people alive after so many hours give us even more hope."

Earlier, fire brigade spokesman Luca Cari told Reuters that authorities were "talking to them."

Up to 30 people, including an unspecified number of children, were reported missing after an avalanche buried the four-star Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola on Wednesday.

The avalanche occurred after a series of magnitude 5.2 and higher earthquakes struck the region earlier in the day.

Two people who were outside of the building when the avalanche struck were rescued Thursday. Rescuers have also found two bodies.

Only sections of the hotel's spa and swimming area remained intact after the avalanche, according to Walter Milan, a member of the Alpine Rescue service.

The government is meeting on Friday and is expected to declare a state of emergency.

An investigation into the tragedy has been opened by a court in Pescara amid accusations that the emergency response was slow.

The first rescuers arrived amid a snow storm on skis early on Thursday morning, some 11 hours after the avalanche.

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