Italy Avalanche
An aerial view shows Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy, hit by an avalanche, in this January 19, 2017 Reuters/Vigili del Fuoco

UPDATE: 7:29 a.m. EST — About 30 people are believed to be missing after a series of earthquakes triggered an avalanche that buried the occupants of a hotel in Italy in massive amounts of snow.

Local Italian media reports suggest that children are among those who are feared trapped under the snow. Only two survivors have been accounted for since the incident occurred more than 12 hours ago. Giampaolo Parete, one of the survivors, said that his wife and two children are under the rubble, according to the BBC that cited the local Ansa news agency. "I was covered by the snow but I managed to get out. The car was not submerged and I waited for the rescuers to arrive," he reportedly said. Some guests also reportedly sent out text messages asking for help.

About 6 miles away from the hotel in the town of Penne, ambulances are stationed at the base camp set up for the rescuers. The ambulances are waiting for the snow to be cleared from the roads leading to the hotel. Upon impact, a section of the hotel’s structure reportedly collapsed and was pushed some 30 feet below the hill.

"We haven't been able to do too much. The structure has collapsed. It's more like a pile of rubble than a hotel…What is left of the hotel is in danger of collapse. The hotel is almost completely destroyed. We've called out but we've heard no replies, no voices. We're digging and looking for people," Antonio Crocetta, a member of the Alpine Rescue squad, told Reuters.

Original story:

As many as 30 people are believed to be missing, after a series of earthquakes, including one whose intensity was measured at 5.7-magnitude, triggered an avalanche that buried the occupants of a hotel in Italy in massive amounts of snow. The incident occurred Wednesday at Hotel Rigopiano, located in the town of Farindola on the Gran Sasso mountain in the central region of Abruzzo.

"There are many deaths," Antonio Crocetta, the head of a mountain rescue team, told Italian news agency ANSA.

About four earthquakes of 5.2-magnitude and higher hit near the hill town of Amatrice in a span of only four hours, some 60 miles north-east of Rome. It is believed that the seismic activity triggered an avalanche that buried the three-story hotel, located about 30 miles from the coastal city of Pescara, according to the Associated Press.

Rescue agencies reached the site on skis at 4 a.m. local time Thursday (10 p.m. EST Wednesday), a task that was fraught with difficulties due to a snowstorm and blocked routes.

SkyTG24 television said that heavy snowfall created trouble for rescue workers to clear the road to the hotel and added that an ambulance was blocked several miles from the hotel. The civil protection agency said that it is also attempting to get rescue vehicles to the site. The channel also said some dead bodies were found inside the building. ANSA also quoted a rescuer as saying that there were fatalities, but details weren't immediately available.

On Wednesday morning, after the first quake hit, the hotel posted a Facebook message saying that its telephone lines were out. Hours since the original message was posted, users have been posting on the thread to inquire about the hotel.

The mountainous region of central Italy has been previously hit by deadly earthquakes, most recently in August when a strong tremor killed nearly 300 people.