Europe

AP Interview: Avalanche survivor thought it was earthquake

  • Vincenzo Forti, right, and Giorgia Galassi, left, two of the nine survivors of the avalanche that hit the Hotel Rigopiano last Wednesday, talk to reporters in Giulianova, Italy,  Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. Man at center is Giorgia's father Tommaso Galassi. Hopes faded Tuesday that any more survivors would be found under a devastating avalanche after the death toll more than doubled to 16 and funerals were celebrated for the first victims. Rescue crews were hit with an unrelated tragedy nearby when a helicopter crashed, killing six people.  (AP Photo/Colleen Barry)

    Vincenzo Forti, right, and Giorgia Galassi, left, two of the nine survivors of the avalanche that hit the Hotel Rigopiano last Wednesday, talk to reporters in Giulianova, Italy, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. Man at center is Giorgia's father Tommaso Galassi. Hopes faded Tuesday that any more survivors would be found under a devastating avalanche after the death toll more than doubled to 16 and funerals were celebrated for the first victims. Rescue crews were hit with an unrelated tragedy nearby when a helicopter crashed, killing six people. (AP Photo/Colleen Barry)  (The Associated Press)

  • This picture made available on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 by the Italian Mountain Rescue Service 'Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico' (CNSAS) shows a cleared pathway by the site of the avalanche-buried Hotel Rigopiano, near Farindola. Italy. The death toll from an avalanche in central Italy climbed to 14 on Tuesday as hopes began to fade that any of the 15 people still missing might be found alive under a mountain resort buried by tons of snow and rubble. (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)

    This picture made available on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 by the Italian Mountain Rescue Service 'Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico' (CNSAS) shows a cleared pathway by the site of the avalanche-buried Hotel Rigopiano, near Farindola. Italy. The death toll from an avalanche in central Italy climbed to 14 on Tuesday as hopes began to fade that any of the 15 people still missing might be found alive under a mountain resort buried by tons of snow and rubble. (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This picture made available on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 by the Italian Mountain Rescue Service 'Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico' (CNSAS) shows an excavator at the site of the avalanche-buried Hotel Rigopiano, near Farindola. Italy. The death toll from an avalanche in central Italy climbed to 14 on Tuesday as hopes began to fade that any of the 15 people still missing might be found alive under a mountain resort buried by tons of snow and rubble. (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)

    This picture made available on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 by the Italian Mountain Rescue Service 'Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico' (CNSAS) shows an excavator at the site of the avalanche-buried Hotel Rigopiano, near Farindola. Italy. The death toll from an avalanche in central Italy climbed to 14 on Tuesday as hopes began to fade that any of the 15 people still missing might be found alive under a mountain resort buried by tons of snow and rubble. (Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A survivor of an Italian avalanche says she only learned she had been buried by tons of snow after she was rescued, thinking until then that she had been trapped by one of the many earthquakes that have rattled central Italy in recent months.

Giorgia Galassi tells The Associated Press that she never imagined that an avalanche could have been responsible for the devastation around her in the Hotel Rigopiano. In an interview Wednesday she said: "We didn't know it until the firefighters told us. We thought the whole time that it was a very strong earthquake."

Galassi and her boyfriend Vincenzo Forti were two of the nine people pulled out alive from the Jan. 18 avalanche. At least 25 others died, and four remain missing.