Rescuers search for survivors after avalanche hits hotel in central Italy

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A firefighter helicopter flies over the town of Penne, central Italy, following a series of earthquakes and a snow avalanche hitting a hotel in central Italy, January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Emiliano Grillotti FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES - RTSWFP5

A firefighter helicopter flies over the town of Penne, central Italy, following a series of earthquakes and a snow avalanche hitting a hotel in central Italy on Jan. 20, 2017. Photo by REUTERS/Emiliano Grillotti

Rescue workers as of Friday evening have found 10 survivors after an avalanche destroyed a hotel in central Italy, according to the Associated Press.

A boy and his mother were pulled out of the debris at Hotel Rigopiano on Friday evening. Other survivors were located nearby and crews planned to work to free them, Reuters reported. Officials have confirmed the death of four people.

Firefighters rescue a survivor from Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, 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. - RTSWGAQ

Firefighters rescue a survivor from Hotel Rigopiano. Photo by Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via REUTERS

“There’s always hope. If there were no hope the rescuers wouldn’t give everything they’ve got,” Italian Department of Civil Protection official Fabrizio Curcio said to Reuters TV.

Officials estimated 30 people were inside the mountainside hotel when an avalanche swallowed the resort Wednesday afternoon.

A series of tremors preceded the avalanche, hitting central Italy early Wednesday with magnitudes ranging from 4.1 to 5.7, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A roadsign shows the Rigopiano direction in the town of Farindola, central Italy, following a series of earthquakes and a snow avalanche hitting a hotel in central Italy, January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Emiliano Grillotti FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES - RTSWFN8

A road sign in the town of Farindola, following a series of earthquakes and a snow avalanche hitting a hotel in central Italy. Photo by REUTERS/Emiliano Grillotti

Heavy snows have socked the mountainous Abruzzo region this season, and rescue workers fought through a snowstorm to get to the resort. Helicopters transported some crew to the hotel, while others had to plow a fresh path to the wreckage through more than 15 feet of snow, according to Reuters.

Rescue workers did not arrive on the scene until 11 hours after the avalanche, which critics called too slow, prompting a court investigation, Reuters reported.

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