Many feared dead as avalanche buries Hotel Rigopiano in Italy

Rome: Many people were feared dead after an avalanche buried a hotel in central Italy following a series of earthquakes, officials said on Thursday.

At least 22 guests and several staff members were at the Hotel Rigopiano near the Gran Sasso mountain range when it was hit by the avalanche on Wednesday, Antonio Crocetta, a rescue group leader in the area, told ANSA news agency.

The area is a popular ski destination.

Rescue workers were not able to reach the area until the early hours of Thursday because of the poor weather conditions, CNN reported.

Central Italy was rocked by more than 10 tremors on Wednesday, four of them above a magnitude of 5, according to the US Geological Survey.