Prime Minister: Italy Avalanche Rescue Was Delayed, ‘Malfunctioning’
While authorities announced the final death toll as 29 from an avalanche in central Italy, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni acknowledged that the rescue effort was filled with delays and "malfunctions." Only nine people were rescued alive from the Hotel Rigopiano, which was covered in snow and rubble. Local authorities reportedly brushed off the first emergency calls about the avalanche—they believed it was a prank. Four earthquakes also hit the area, and the resulting landslide dropped about 60,000 tons of snow, trees and other rubble onto the resort. It took eight hours for crews to even reach the site of the hotel. A criminal investigation has been opened on the tragedy.