Europe

Questions swirl about Italy response to snow-isolated hotel

  • Italian Mountain Rescue Corps "Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico" shows Soccorso Alpino volunteers and rescuers at work in the area of the avalanche-struck Hotel Rigopiano, near Farindola, central Italy, late Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017.  (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)

    Italian Mountain Rescue Corps "Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico" shows Soccorso Alpino volunteers and rescuers at work in the area of the avalanche-struck Hotel Rigopiano, near Farindola, central Italy, late Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Mountain Rescue Corps "Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico" Soccorso Alpino volunteers and rescuers work in the area of the avalanche-struck Hotel Rigopiano, near in Farindola, central Italy, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017.  (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)

    Italian Mountain Rescue Corps "Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico" Soccorso Alpino volunteers and rescuers work in the area of the avalanche-struck Hotel Rigopiano, near in Farindola, central Italy, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Mountain Rescue Corps "Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico" shows Soccorso Alpino volunteers and rescuers at work in the area of the avalanche-struck Hotel Rigopiano, near in Farindola, central Italy, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017.  (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)

    Italian Mountain Rescue Corps "Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico" shows Soccorso Alpino volunteers and rescuers at work in the area of the avalanche-struck Hotel Rigopiano, near in Farindola, central Italy, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Rescue crews are considering whether to start using heavy equipment to speed up the search for 23 people still buried under the ruins of a central Italy hotel crushed by an avalanche.

Firefighter spokesman Luca Cari said emergency crews were working with an "operational hypothesis" that the tons of snow that plowed into the Hotel Rigopiano on Jan. 18 might not have reached all parts of the structure, and that there might still be survivors underneath.

But five days after the devastating snow slide, Cari said Monday that "we are fighting against time."

He said: "We know we need to work fast, but in relation to an environment that doesn't allow for fast intervention."

Meanwhile, questions are intensifying into whether the local government underestimated the threat facing the isolated hotel.