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Rescuers are undergoing a frantic mission to locate several missing guests at Italian mountainside resort Hotel Rigopiano, this after an earthquake in the region triggered a massive avalanche. According to the most recent reports, up to around 30 people were said to be missing at the hotel with many others feared dead in a race against time.

The Daily Mail reports:

Desperate guests trapped inside an Italian hotel have been sending texts to loved-ones after the building was crushed by a huge avalanche killing up to 30 people.

One message, believed to have been sent from the four-star Hotel Rigopiano, said ‘Help, help, we are dying of the cold’ while another, sent from outside, urged those still caught inside to ‘be calm’.

Other trapped guests are reported to have sent texts directly to emergency services with phone lines in rooms said to have been cut off by the force of the avalanche.

Mountain emergency crews using cross country skis trekked six miles through the night to reach the hotel, battling through 15ft of snow which has fallen in a matter of days.

So far, rescue crews have managed to save two people.

According to the Independent‘s report, a quote given to local news agency Ansa spoke with the head of a mountain rescue squad who said that “there are many dead.”

Video footage of the rescue scene courtesy of the Independent can be viewed below.

Photo: screen cap