PENNE, Italy – The final death toll from Italy's devastating avalanche stands at 29 after the final bodies were pulled out of the rubble of a hotel crushed by tons of snow.
Firefighters issued the update early Thursday after a week of search efforts at the isolated Hotel Rigopiano in central Italy. Nine people were pulled out alive in the first days of the rescue.
Premier Paolo Gentiloni acknowledged delays and "malfunctioning" in the initial rescue effort after local authorities brushed off the first alarms about the avalanche. But Gentiloni told parliament on Wednesday that now wasn't the time to find scapegoats.
Prosecutors say that autopsies on the first six bodies examined showed most died from the initial physical trauma of the hotel collapsing, with some also showing signs of hypothermia and asphyxiation.