Italy crews find 3 puppies alive under avalanche-hit hotel

An aerial view of the Rigopiano Hotel hit by an avalanche in Farindola, Italy, early Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. A hotel in the mountainous region hit again by quakes has been covered by an avalanche, with reports of dead. Italian media say the avalanche covered the three-story hotel in the central region of Abruzzo, on Wednesday evening. (Italian Firefighters via AP)

FARINDOLA, Italy (AP) – Rescue crews say they have found three puppies alive in the rubble of an Italian mountain hotel slammed by an avalanche.

Firefighter spokesman Fabio German said the discovery signals that there are still chances of finding some of the 23 people still buried under the snow alive. Emergency crews have held out hope that survivors found air pockets under the tons of snow and rubble.

So far nine people have been rescued from the snow-covered Hotel Rigopiano, which was hit by up to 60,000 tons of snow on Jan. 18. Six others at the hotel have died.

But more than a day has passed since anyone has been pulled out alive. Conditions at the site are deteriorating, with the snow turning to ice.

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