Six people, including a child, were found still alive on Friday buried in a hotel in central Italy that had been crushed by an avalanche on Wednesday, local media reported.
Fire-fighter squad rescuers were able to speak with six people several times since around midday on Friday, Ansa news agency reported.
The survivors appeared to have taken refuge under the roof of the hotel Rigopiano in the Abruzzo region, which was buried under meters of snow, mud, and debris when the avalanche hit.
A little girl is among the survivors, local media said. At least three children aged six, seven, and nine were included in about 30 people considered missing up to Friday morning, almost two days since the incident.
Deputy interior minister Filippo Bubbico confirmed to state radio broadcaster RAI GR1 that a child was among those found alive.
The other survivors are three men and two women, RAI also reported. Rescuers called in helicopters to the scene to bring survivors to hospital as soon as possible. They have spent some 40 hours in the hotel, which was almost uprooted by the strength of the snow-slide.
Weather conditions and sub-zero temperatures have made rescue efforts extremely difficult so far, and increased the risks for those buried.
Aid workers had reported no signs of life as of Friday morning, although they said they would not give up hopes of finding people alive.
So far, at least two bodies were found and recovered from the debris of the luxury ski resort, which lies between the village of Farindola and the 2,912-meter-tall Gran Sasso peak.
Two men who were outside the hotel when the avalanche occurred survived the incident and launched the first SOS call.
The avalanche was almost certainly triggered by four powerful earthquakes that hit the Abruzzo region on Wednesday morning, according to experts. Enditem