PENNE, Italy (Reuters) - Rescuers have pulled two people to safety and found at least eight others alive two days after an avalanche flattened a mountain hotel in central Italy, a national fire brigade official said on Friday.


Luca Cari said three of the survivors were children. "The rescue operation is very long and difficult," he told Reuters by telephone from the scene of the disaster in the Abruzzo region.


More than 30 people were in the luxury Hotel Rigopiano when the wall of snow slammed into it on Wednesday afternoon, spreading debris across the valley floor.


(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Isla Binnie)