ROME: Six more bodies have been retrieved from an Italian hotel devastated by an avalanche nearly a week ago, media said Tuesday citing local authorities, with 17 people still missing.
Twelve people are now confirmed to have died after disaster struck the Hotel Rigopiano in the mountains of central Italy.
Rescuers have refused to give up hope of finding survivors, after three live puppies were retrieved from under the rubble on Monday.
Italian authorities are meanwhile investigating the chain of events leading to the avalanche to see if the tragedy could have been avoided.
An investigation for manslaughter has been opened to probe whether risks had been taken into account during the construction of the hotel and on the day of the disaster itself.
On Friday, rescuers pulled several survivors out of the wreckage who described spending a horrific 48 hours trapped in the darkness and freezing cold of the hotel, eating snow to quench their thirst.
New routes have been dug into the rubble, but the search operation is proceeding slowly, with rescuers often digging with their bare hands over fears of causing a further collapse in the wreckage.
The avalanche hit the hotel with the force of 4,000 trucks traveling at full speed. AFP