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Italian Helicopter Comes Down 60 Miles From Avalanche Hotel

by Claudio Lavanga /
A map showing Campo Felice and the Hotel Rigopiano in central Italy.Google Maps

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A helicopter carrying five rescuers to help a skier crashed Tuesday around 60 miles from an Italian hotel buried by an avalanche last week, officials said.

Lucrezia Martinelli, a press officer at Italy's Civil Protection Agency, said she had no news on whether those on board survived.

The chopper was run by the country's ambulance service and came down in the mountainous Campo Felice region of central Italy, Martinelli said. It was flying to the slopes to help a skier and was not involved in the search and rescue operation at the hotel.

A bed-and-breakfast worker in the nearby town of Casamaina told NBC News that the helicopter had crashed in foggy weather behind the mountain closest to her. Declining to give her name, she said she saw many rescue vehicles driving through her area "at high speed."

At least 14 people were killed after an earthquake-triggered avalanche buried the Rigopiano Hotel in Farindola, last week. As of Tuesday, 15 people were still missing and there were 11 survivors.

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