FARINDOLA, Italy (Reuters) – Rescuers working through the night pulled five more bodies from the wreck of a hotel in central Italy that was razed by an avalanche last week, bringing the death toll to 14, the national fire brigade said on Tuesday.
The latest bodies – three men and two women – were recovered hours before families of victims were due to hold the first funerals of those killed in the avalanche.
Eleven people so far have been rescued from in and around the hotel in the Gran Sasso national park, some of them surviving for two days under ice and rubble.
But 15 people are still missing after a wall of snow crashed into the four-storey building last Wednesday, hours after earthquakes shook the region.
Prosecutors in nearby Pescara have opened an investigation into the avalanche.
(Reporting by Sasa Kavic and Roberto Mignucci in Farindola and Isla Binnie in Rome; Editing by Philip Pullella and Hugh Lawson)