Trial sought for 25 suspects in 2017 Italian hotel avalanche
ROME — A trial is being sought for 25 suspects in the deadly 2017 avalanche at a resort hotel in the Italian Apennine mountains.
The Italian news agency ANSA reported that prosecutors in Pescara formally asked a judge Wednesday to issue trial indictments against 24 people and the hotel company. Accusations include multiple manslaughter and causing a disaster.
Tons of snow smashed into the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola on Jan. 18, 2017, killing 29 guests and staff.
The investigation has largely focused on why help was so slow in arriving, why the hotel was not evacuated after a heavy snowstorm and if it had authorization to be built in an area known to be prone to avalanches.
It was unclear when a judge, after holding preliminary hearings, would decide on the request for indictments.
Police conclude Rigopiano avalanche investigation
25 parties have been formally notified of the Pescara forest police force's conclusion of its 22-month-long investigation into the 2017 Hotel Rigopiano avalanche disaster, Italian media reported on Monday.
Such notices are typically made when prosecutors are preparing requests for their recipients to be brought to trial.
Among those who received the notice, which was issued to 24 individuals as well as the Gran Sasso Resort, were Province of Pescara President Antonio Di Marco, former Pescara prefect Francesco Provolo, former Gran Sasso Resort director Paolo Del Rosso, Hotel Rigopiano manager Bruno Di Tommaso, and Farindola town mayor Ilario Lacchetta.
The snowslide, which engulfed the Hotel Rigopiano in Abruzzo on January 18, 2017, killed 29 people, and was Italy’s deadliest avalanche in almost a century.
The charges brought against those notified are likely to include manslaughter and causing injury though negligence by failing to take adequate precautions to protect the hotel’s residents.
One of the report's most damning conclusions is that the hotel should never have been issued with building permits allowing its construction in the first place; and that it should at the least have been closed during the winter, when the avalanche risk was at its highest.
Mistakes made at the time of the disaster are also believed to have contributed to the scale of the tragedy.
Shortly after the incident it was reported that a phonecall from the hotel requesting help was initially dismissed by authorities as a hoax, delaying rescue efforts.
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