Rescuers have pulled four children alive from the ruins of an Italian hotel, two days after it was hit by a massive avalanche.
A group of 10 people were found alive hiding in a kitchen of the barricaded hotel in the village of Farindola, central Italy, on Friday.
One of the children is believed to be the daughter of a woman who was pulled out with her son earlier in the day, begging for rescuers to ‘Find my little girl’.
Late on Friday night, civil protection chief Fabrizio Cari said five people have been pulled to safety, with teams working to rescue the others.
Four people have died and at least 16 others remain unaccounted for.
Those who have been pulled from the snow were taken to hospitals in the cities of Pescara and Aquila.
Incredible footage emerged earlier in the day showing a mother and her eight-year-old son being rescued.
Emerging from the structure rescue crews patted the eight-year-old boy called Gianfilippo on the head in celebration before a Romanian woman, thought to be Adriana Vranceanu, emerged to chants of ‘Brava Brava!’ before she shouted ‘Find my daughter!’
The survivors appeared fully alert and walking on their own. Both were helped down to a stretcher for the helicopter ride out.
They are the family of cook Giampiero Parete who escaped the avalanche after going to fetch headache tablets from his car for his wife when it hit.
A doctor treating the Paretes told a press conference: ‘Mr Parete’s wife and son are in excellent condition. They have light hypothermia and dehydration and they’re being monitored overnight.
‘Mr Parete has been dismissed but has chosen to be with his wife and child.
‘They survived because they had access to the heavy clothing in their suitcases and because they were not in contact with the snow but inside a room that was closed off.
‘They are also getting psychological help because it was a very traumatic situation.’
Mr and Mrs Parete’s six-year-old daughter Ludovica is believed to be among the children that have also now been pulled out of the hotel by rescue teams.
It means that all four children thought to have been trapped inside the hotel have now been rescued, including one who asked for her favourite biscuits after being pulled out.
A group are understood to have made a fire to keep warm and eaten food they found in cupboards in the kitchen.
Other guests had sought refuge in the bar and billiards area of the four-storey building.
Among the survivors are Eduardo Di Carlo, eight, and his parents Sebastiano and Nadia, both 48, who own a pizzeria in the nearby town of Penne.
Last night the boy’s grandfather Giovanni Di Carlo told the Daily Mail: ‘It’s the miracle we prayed for. All three are alive.’
A rescue worker said those that were pulled free were were speechless after being saved.
Marco Bini, an officer with the mountain rescue wing of the GDF financial police, said: ‘We saw smoke, there were a few small fires in the rubble, and where there is fire there is air so we started to dig.’
‘The fire will have been using up the oxygen so we were lucky to find them. Their faces said it all, it was like they had been reborn.
‘After all the work we are overjoyed to have found them alive.’
In addition the hotel’s dogs Wolf and Cloud, were also pulled alive from the building and are being cared for by a hotel worker who had earlier escaped.
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