An avalanche has hit Hotel Rigopiano in Italy
20 guests were staying at Hotel Rigopiano in Pescara, a province in the Abruzzo region, when the avalanche hit.
Rescuers are trying to reach the hotel on the slope of Gran Sasso. Hours earlier the hotel used its Facebook page to warn guests the phone network was down due to bad weather.
President of Pescara province Antonio Di Marco described the avalanche as a “terrible tragedy” and said the hotel is buried in snow.
There seem to be victims, but it all needs to be confirmed. There were 20 guests in the hotel.
Antonio Di Marco
Mr Di Marco said: "There seem to be victims, but it all needs to be confirmed. There were 20 guests in the hotel."
Italian news agency ANSA said at least three people are believed to be missing with other local media saying as many as 30 guests and staff are unaccounted for.
The chef from the four-star spa resort raised the alarm with Pescara Red Cross who have rushed to the scene.
The Abruzzo region has been hit with heavy snowfall in recent days
It comes hours after several strong earthquakes and aftershocks struck central Italy, which has been hit by heavy snowfall in the last week.
Four quakes of magnitude 5.2 and higher struck near the hill town of Amatrice, some 60 miles northeast of Rome, in the space of four hours.
Much of the area had already been abandoned after last year's earthquakes.
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The central Lazio, Marche and Abruzzo regions have been grappling with heavy snowfall, and one man aged about 82 died after the snow and one of the tremors caused the roof of a farm building to fall on him, a fire service spokesman said.
Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said soldiers would help rescue teams get to the affected villages.
More to follow…