Europe

Italy avalanche death toll climbs to 12 with 17 missing

  • 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 Farindola, central Italy, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. 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. (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 Farindola, central Italy, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. 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. (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 three puppies stay close to each other at the Hotel Rigopiano, near Farindola, central Italy, a day before an avalanche buried the hotel.  Emergency crews digging into an avalanche-slammed hotel were cheered Monday by the discovery of three puppies who had survived for days under tons of snow, giving them new hope for the 23 people still missing in the disaster. (Marisa Basilavecchia via AP)

    In this photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 three puppies stay close to each other at the Hotel Rigopiano, near Farindola, central Italy, a day before an avalanche buried the hotel. Emergency crews digging into an avalanche-slammed hotel were cheered Monday by the discovery of three puppies who had survived for days under tons of snow, giving them new hope for the 23 people still missing in the disaster. (Marisa Basilavecchia via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Director of the Santo Spirito hospital, Rossano Di Nuzio, meets the media in Pescara, central Italy, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. 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. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Director of the Santo Spirito hospital, Rossano Di Nuzio, meets the media in Pescara, central Italy, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. 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. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

The death toll from an avalanche in central Italy has climbed to 12, with 17 people still missing under a mountain resort buried by tons of snow and rubble.

Firefighters located five more bodies overnight and the search was continuing Tuesday in hopes that someone might still be alive six days after the disaster. Rescue crews were buoyed by the discovery Monday of three of the Hotel Rigopiano's resident puppies, though they stressed that the white sheepdogs were found in a boiler room far from where the missing are thought to be.

The first funerals will be held Tuesday.

Prosecutors are investigating whether a series of missed communications, underestimations of risks and delays in responding to days of heavy snowfall contributed to the toll from the Jan. 18 avalanche.