Deadly helicopter crash in Italy strains disaster hit region | News | DW | 24.01.2017
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Deadly helicopter crash in Italy strains disaster hit region

A rescue helicopter has crashed in Italy, killing six people. The crash was separate from a rescue operation still ongong after a deadly avalanche destroyed a hotel last week.

A rescue helicopter carrying an injured skier off the slopes crashed in the mountains of central Italy on Tuesday, killing all six people on board.

The helicopter was carrying the skier from Campo Felice ski area to the regional capital to L'Aquila, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) away, when it crashed while in heavy fog.

The crash put additional pressure on rescue services in the area, which has been hit by recent earthquakes, heavy snowfall and a deadly avalanche.

The helicopter crash was unrelated to continuing rescue efforts about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away after an earthquake-induced avalanche buried a hotel in another part of the Abruzzo's mountains.

The death toll from last Wednesday's destruction of the Hotel Rigopiano has risen to 16, after rescuers found a half dozen more bodies on Tuesday afternoon.

Italien Hotel Rigopiano Rettunsgarbeiten nach Lawine (picture-alliance/AP Photo/ANSA)

Rescue crews are still searching for survivors from the avalanche.

So far, rescuers have saved 11 people from the avalanche disaster, some of whom spent days under ice and rubble. The last time rescuers found surviving people was on Saturday morning. Thirteen people are still missing.

On Monday, three puppies were found alive in the hotel's boiler room.

Rescue crews said they would continue to look for survivors.

"We will not stop until we are certain that no one else is left under there," said civil protection official Luigi D'Angelo. "We are searching in the heart of the building."

cw/msh (AFP, AP, dpa)

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