Eight people have been rescued from the Italian Hotel that was devastated by an avalanche on Wednesday.  Rescue teams had to dig them free with their bare hands.

Two of the rescued were children.

The eight survivors were barricaded in the kitchen.  Throughout their forty hour ordeal they made fires to keep warm and ate food they found in cupboards.  All have been taken to hospital in Pescara and Aquila.

Rescue crews shouted “Brava Brava!” as they pulled a young boy free.  A woman wearing long red snow pants emerged shouting “Find my daughter.”

All the survivors appeared to be able to walk and be fully alert.  They were airlifted to hospital.

One group of survivors were the family of Giampiero Parete who escaped the avalanche as he had gone to get medication for his wife from the car at the time the avalanche struck the hotel.

“We saw Smoke”

One officer of the mountain rescue wing of the GDF Financial Police, Marco Bini 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 to the eight survivors the hotel dogs, Wolf and Cloud were also rescued.

The survivors were found when hope for finding anyone alive was fading.  The avalanche ripped the hotel from its foundations shifting the building ten metres.  Much of it was destroyed and scattered down the mountain.

Local media reports that helicopters carrying doctors and sniffer dogs are en route.

Currently, seventeen people are still missing including families.

Rescue teams have battled severe weather to try and help those trapped in the hotel.