Fri, Jan 27, 2017 - Page 6 News List

We never gave up hope, avalanche survivors say

‘TRULY A MIRACLE’:Giorgia Galassi credited Vincenzo Forti’s strength for helping keep her spirits up, along with his focus on seeking solutions to their predicament

AP, GIULIANOVA, Italy

They could also hear a mother with her son nearby, who turned out to be Adriana Vranceanu and her eight-year-old son Gianfilippo, both of whom also survived.

Vranceanu’s husband, Giampaolo Parete, was outside when the avalanche hit and sounded the alarm. Their six-year-old daughter, Ludovica, was pulled from the rubble with the two other children staying at the hotel, who spent nearly two days alone together in a billiard room.

Galassi said she passed the time in prayer.

“I don’t think I have ever prayed so much in my life,” Galassi said.

Despite their conviction that help would arrive, there were moments of despair and they took turns comforting each other.

Galassi said they first heard rescuers at about 11am on Friday last week — nearly two days after the avalanche — when they heard Vranceanu speaking to a voice they had not heard before.

“When I heard she was speaking with someone, I yelled: ‘Who are you speaking to?’ She said: ‘I am speaking with Mauro, who is a rescuer. They came to save us.’ They said to stay calm, that they would pull us out.”

“We started to yell and to knock to make ourselves heard, and after a while he also came to talk to us,” Galassi said.

Within a short time, they were free.

Galassi credited Forti’s strength for helping keep her spirits up, along with his focus on seeking solutions to their predicament. She said the ordeal had only strengthened their bond.

“We said even this happened to us and we got out together,” Galassi said. “I believe it is truly a miracle.”

The couple said they were relieved to hear all four children staying at the hotel had survived, but they are haunted by the deaths of so many of their companions, including Bronzi’s boyfriend.

“I think thank God that I am safe, but I am very sorry, truly deeply, because I knew these people and I saw the terror in their eyes. These people had children,” Galassi said. “It could have happened even to me. It could have happened to him.”

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