6 investigated for manslaughter in Italian hotel avalanche

FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 file photo, Italian firefighters search for survivors after an avalanche buried Hotel Rigopiano near Farindola, central Italy. The final death toll from Italy's devastating avalanche stands at 29 after the remaining bodies were pulled out of the rubble of the hotel crushed by tons of snow, firefighters said Thursday, Jan. 26. Firefighters issued the update after a week of search efforts at the isolated hotel. Nine people were pulled out alive in the first days of the rescue. (Italian Firefighters/ANSA via Italian Firefighters, File)

MILAN (AP) — Italian prosecutors are investigating six people for multiple counts of manslaughter and causing bodily harm in a deadly avalanche at a mountain hotel that killed 29 people, Italian news reports said Thursday.

The news agency ANSA said prosecutors were issuing formal notices of the investigation against the Pescara provincial president, Antonio Di Marco; the mayor of Farindola, Ilario Lacchetta; and the director of the Rigopiano hotel, Bruno Di Tomasso. Also under investigation are two provincial employees and a Farindola city employee.

Pescara prosecutors declined to comment on the investigation. Italian news reports said the investigation was focused on the failure to evacuate the hotel in the days before the January avalanche as snowfall hit levels not seen in decades, and the fact that at least eight cars were escorted by provincial law enforcement to the hotel as snow accumulated the night before the tragedy.

The list of people under investigation does not include officials who were accused in the days after the avalanche of not reacting quickly enough to reports of the disaster.

The avalanche buried guests and hotel staff as they waited for a snow plow to clear roads of meters-deep snow so they could leave the hotel after being shaken by a series of strong earthquakes. Two people escaped the avalanche while nine, including four children, were pulled alive from the snow and debris days after the tragedy.