Two children have been found alive following an avalanche that engulfed an hotel in Italy; a number of outlets have said a total of six people have been found while others are suggesting eight.
They have been trapped in Hotel Rigopiano since Wednesday, when two people who survived the incident raised the alarm.
+ NEWS/ Rigopiano. 6 persone trovate vive. Tra loro una bambina. Annuncio del vicemin. Interno Filippo Bubbico + https://t.co/5TNmxP0GEM— Rai Radio1 (@Radio1Rai) January 20, 2017
According to reports, a woman and a child have been freed and firefighters are believed to be working on rescuing the others; they are said to have taken refugee in the hotel's kitchen.
Marco Bini a police Alpine rescue officer said there was plenty of air to allow them to breathe, and the snow around the hotel acted like an insulator to keep them warm.
"There was plenty of air for them to breathe and they were insulated against the cold by the snow that covered the hotel just like an igloo. They seem fine. They were very happy to see us," he said, talking about the two people pulled free.
"They are being taken to hospital but we need to try to find out if they know where other people are in the hotel."
There were around 30 people in the hotel at the time, but conditions are making rescue attempts difficult.
"We are dealing with a very difficult combination of circumstances, a mix of earthquake and avalanche conditions. But it is possible that people are still alive," Valter Milan, a spokesman for the Italian alpine rescue service said.
"There could be rooms and other spaces where they found refuge. Some parts of the hotel are covered by five metres of snow."