Rescuers have found six people alive under snow at the site of the avalanche that buried a hotel in central Italy, the local fire department said. A spokesman for the department, Luca Cari, told CNN the rescuers are in contact with the group but are yet to reach them.


Up to 30 people are feared trapped in four-star Hotel Rigopiano, at the foot of the Gran Sasso mountain about 135 kilometers (85 miles) northeast of Rome.
It was buried in snow Wednesday afternoon after a series of earthquakes.
Officials said some could have survived in air pockets within the building but hopes of finding anyone alive had been fading Friday before the news broke that six had been found. 
Conditions are still perilous. Searchers had to suspend operations between 2 and 7 a.m. local time due to fears of avalanche and continued aftershocks. But rescue operations resumed at first light. Earlier Friday, Italy's Interior Minister Marco Minniti, briefing reporters in the nearby town of Penne, had said that the families of the missing still held out hope but were coming to terms with the fact that this was looking increasingly unlikely.

Civil Protection services said that the hotel was in the process of being evacuated due to the earthquake when the avalanche hit. Guests had settled their bills and were waiting together in the lobby with their luggage.

The fire department said the hotel had been "completely slammed" in the avalanche and debris was scattered as far as 100 meters from the hotel structure, making the search area large. The force of the avalanche was so great that the hotel building has shifted 10 meters down the slope from its foundations, the Civil Protection Department said. Two people were rescued from the site of the hotel in the hours after the avalanche, Civil Protection Department chief Fabrizio Curcio told journalists.
Rescuers were still trying to get to other areas isolated by the avalanche, Gentiloni said, and authorities were hoping to bring power back to as many as 90,000 people who were left in darkness overnight from the extreme weather.
Many people slept in shelters overnight Thursday to Friday despite the bitter cold and continuing snowfall because of the fear of more avalanches.
Source: CNN