24/01/2017 10:16 GMT | Updated 24/01/2017 10:46 GMT

3 Puppies Rescued From Italian Avalanche Hotel As Death Toll Climbs

They were found alive and healthy in a boiler room.

Three puppies have been rescued from an Italian hotel four days after it was buried in an avalanche.

The sheepdogs were found alive and healthy in a boiler room reached by firefighters on Monday.

Sadly the death toll from the disaster has climbed to 14 and hopes are fading that any of the 15 people still missing will be found alive.

Handout . / Reuters
A firefighter holds one of the three puppies found alive in the rubble of the Hotel Rigopiano after the avalanche 

The first funerals were being held on Tuesday, while the nine survivors recover in hospital.

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 18 January avalanche.

In addition, they are looking into the original construction of the isolated resort and whether it should have been open for business at all in such conditions.

Handout . / Reuters
The puppies were found four days after the hotel was buried in snow and rubble 
Handout . / Reuters
The puppies were resident at the hotel, along with their mother