At least 37 killed after 6.2 magnitude earthquake strikes central Italy, officials say.
ACCUMOLI, Italy (Reuters) – A strong earthquake brought down buildings in mountainous central Italy early on Wednesday, trapping residents and sending others fleeing into the streets, with at least 37 people believed killed.
The quake caused serious damage to a number of towns and villages, but did not seem to have hit heavily populated areas.
The worst affected towns were believed to be Accumoli, Amatrice, Posta and Arquata del Tronto.
“Now that daylight has come, we see that the situation is even more dreadful than we feared with buildings collapsed, people trapped under the rubble and no sound of life,” said Accumoli mayor Stefano Petrucci.
Earlier, Petrucci told RAI state broadcaster that a family of four had been buried when their house collapsed, adding that there was no indication they had survived.
RAI quoted police as saying two people were known to have died in the nearby village of Pescara del Tronto. Two bodies were removed from the debris in the small town of Amatrice.
“Three quarters of the town is not there anymore,” Amatrice mayor Sergio Pirozzi told RAI. “The aim now is to save as many lives as possible. There are voices under the rubble, we have to save the people there.”
A Reuters reporter said the town’s hospital had been badly damaged by the quake, with patients moved into the streets.
The earthquake caused damage to towns in three regions – Umbria, Lazio and Marche. The U.S. Geological Survey, which measured the quake at 6.2 magnitude, said it struck near the Umbrian city of Norcia, which has a picturesque historic centre and is a major tourist site.