FARINDOLA, Italy – The death toll from an avalanche in central Italy climbed to 14 on Tuesday as hopes began to fade that any of the 15 people still missing might be found alive under a mountain resort buried by tons of snow and rubble.
Firefighters located a half-dozen bodies within a few hours Tuesday, doubling the death toll six days after the disaster. Rescue crews had been buoyed by the discovery Monday of three of the Hotel Rigopiano’s resident puppies, though they stressed that the sheepdogs were found in a boiler room far from where the missing were thought to be.
The first funerals were being held Tuesday, while the nine survivors recovered at home or at the hospital.
Prosecutors are investigating whether a series of missed communications, underestimations of risks and delays in responding to days of heavy snowfall contributed to the toll from the Jan. 18 avalanche. In addition, they are looking into the original construction of the isolated resort and whether it should have been open for business at all in such conditions.