A powerful earthquake rattled mountainous central Italy, leaving 241 people dead and hundreds injured.
Deadly Earthquake Rocks Italy
A powerful earthquake rattled mountainous central Italy, leaving 241 people dead and hundreds injured. The 6.2-magnitude quake hit the town of Amatrice northeast of Rome early Wednesday at 03:36 (01:36 GMT).
Reports say dozens are still trapped in the affected towns in Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.
The deadly quake left a trail of destruction as well, reducing villages to rubble. The mayor of Amatrice said three-quarters of the town was destroyed.
As search and rescue operations are underway, local authorities said the death toll is expected to rise.
Search Operations Underway
The earthquake toppled buildings and damaged roads. Authorities and the local community believe there are still survivors under the rubble.
To respond to the crisis, Italian government deployed more than 5,300 rescuers. The rescue crews used heavy lifting equipment, sound detectors and their bare hands to search for more survivors.
Local people also came to help by using tractors, farm equipment and simple hand tools to break through what was left of old stone buildings.
The search went overnight amid the danger of the of aftershock.
The BBC now reports that aftershocks are holding up search efforts.
Initial Quake Victims
Earlier BBC reports said many of the victims were children. Among the victims was an 18-month-old toddler, Marisol Piermarini, whose mother Martina Turco survived the deadly 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila.
Death toll reached 190 in Rieti province and 57 in neighbouring Ascoli Piceno province.
Young Girl Rescued
Residents and rescuers cheered for the dramatic rescue of a 10-year old girl in the village of Pescara del Tronto. The young girl was pulled alive from the rubble after being trapped for 17 hours.
The scene was captured on video by CNN affiliate Sky TG24.
Italy No Stranger to Earthquakes
A deadly earthquake in L’Aquila killed more than 300 people in 2009. Three years after, two more powerful earthquakes killed more than 20 people in the northern Emilia Romagna region.