Italian rescue workers toil through night after 6.2 magnitude quake hits central Italy, killing at least 247 people.
The death toll from a devastating earthquake that hit and flattened central Italian towns soared to more than 240 as rescuers desperately searched through the night for survivors under the ruins of collapsed buildings.With 368 people injured, some critically, and an unknown number still trapped in mountains of rubble on Thursday morning, the toll was expected to rise.Wednesday’s pre-dawn earth quake razed homes and buckled roads in a cluster of mountain communities 140km east of Italy’s capital, Rome. It was powerful enough to be felt in Bologna to the north and Naples to the south, each more than 200km from the epicentre.The US Geological Survey said that it was a 6.2 magnitude quake that hit near the town of Norcia, in the region of Umbria.
The death toll is 247 as of Thursday morning, the country’s civil protection agency said. The toll had stood at 159 on Wednesday night.Hundreds of people spent a chilly night in hastily assembled tents with the risk of aftershocks making it too risky for them to return home.”Tonight will be our first nightmare night,” said Alessandro Gabrielli, one of hundreds preparing to sleep in tents in fields and car parks in the small town of Amatrice, each one housing 12 people whose homes had been destroyed.”Last night, I woke up with a sound that sounded like a bomb,” he told the Reuters news agency.One hotel that collapsed in Amatrice probably had about 70 guests, and only seven bodies had so far been recovered, said the mayor of the town that was one of the worst hit by the earthquake.”Half the town is gone,” Sergio Pirozzi told RAI state television. “There are people under the rubble … There’s been a landslide and a bridge might collapse.””There is a massive rescue operation going on in the town of Amatrice. Thousands of workers from the region participate in the efforts. The town is full of rubble,” Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler said, reporting from the quake-hit town.