Sunday 4 December 2016

Boy (14) killed in earthquake tragedy alongside his friend's parents after villa collapsed

Rachael Burnett

Published 26/08/2016 | 13:40

Maria and William Henniker-Gotley and Marcos Burnett
Maria and William Henniker-Gotley and Marcos Burnett

The devastated families of three Britons killed in the earthquake in central Italy have paid tribute to "the tireless work of the Italian rescue workers and hospital staff".

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Maria and William Henniker-Gotley, aged 51 and 55 and from south London, died after the 6.2 magnitude quake struck in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Marcos Burnett, 14, was also killed.

A statement from their families said: "It is with sadness that we can confirm the deaths of Maria, 51, and Will, 55, Henniker-Gotley and Marcos Burnett, 14, in the earthquake in Amatrice, Italy on 24 July.

A destroyed car is seen following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
A destroyed car is seen following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
A destroyed car is seen following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Rescuers work on collapsed buildings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers and people stand next a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
People stand next collapsed buildings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Rescuers work following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
The interior of an house is seen following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A statue of the Virgin Lady stands outside a destroyed niche following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Firefighters search through rubble following an earthquake in Accumoli, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. A strong earthquake in central Italy reduced three towns to rubble as people slept early Wednesday, with reports that as many as 50 people were killed and hundreds injured as rescue crews raced to dig out survivors. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP)
Rescuers prepare food and basic necessities following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
An injured person is carried away on a stretcher following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Rescuers work following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
The interior of an house is seen following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
A man leans on rubble following an earthquake in Amatrice Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. A strong earthquake in central Italy reduced three towns to rubble as people slept early Wednesday, with reports that as many as 50 people were killed and hundreds injured as rescue crews raced to dig out survivors. (Massimo Percossi/ANSA via AP)
Rescuers work following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
People walk with their belongings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers prepare food and basic necessities in front of a partially collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH A body is carried away by rescuers following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers prepare food and basic necessities in front of a partially collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
People and rescuers stand next collapsed buildings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
People and rescuers stand near collapsed buildings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
A rescuer stands in front of a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The interior of a house is seen following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti, central Italy August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
Rescuers work at a collapsed house following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
A woman stands in front of a collapsed house following an earthquake in Accumuli di Rieti, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
A man walks amidst rubble following an earthquake in Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Rescuers are seen working in the rubble of collapsed and damaged houses in the village of Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24 2016 following an earthquake. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (Crocchioni/ANSA via AP)
Rescuers search for survivors through rubble after an earthquake, in Accumoli, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. A devastating earthquake rocked central Italy early Wednesday, collapsing homes on top of residents as they slept. At least 23 people were reported dead in three hard-hit towns where rescue crews raced to dig survivors out of the rubble, but the toll was expected to rise as crews reached homes in more remote hamlets. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A survivor looks at the collapsed buildings of the town of Pescara del Tronto, Italy, after an earthquake, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (Cristiano Chiodi/ANSA via AP)

"Their families have paid tribute to the tireless work of the Italian rescue workers and hospital staff and expressed their gratitude for the love and support they have received from the Italian people. Their thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the earthquake."

The earthquake levelled three small towns and has left at least 250 people dead.

A destroyed car is seen following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
A destroyed car is seen following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
A destroyed car is seen following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Rescuers work on collapsed buildings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers and people stand next a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
People stand next collapsed buildings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Rescuers work following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
The interior of an house is seen following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A statue of the Virgin Lady stands outside a destroyed niche following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Firefighters search through rubble following an earthquake in Accumoli, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. A strong earthquake in central Italy reduced three towns to rubble as people slept early Wednesday, with reports that as many as 50 people were killed and hundreds injured as rescue crews raced to dig out survivors. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP)
Rescuers prepare food and basic necessities following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
An injured person is carried away on a stretcher following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Rescuers work following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
The interior of an house is seen following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
A man leans on rubble following an earthquake in Amatrice Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. A strong earthquake in central Italy reduced three towns to rubble as people slept early Wednesday, with reports that as many as 50 people were killed and hundreds injured as rescue crews raced to dig out survivors. (Massimo Percossi/ANSA via AP)
Rescuers work following an earthquake at Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
People walk with their belongings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers prepare food and basic necessities in front of a partially collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH A body is carried away by rescuers following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers prepare food and basic necessities in front of a partially collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
People and rescuers stand next collapsed buildings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
People and rescuers stand near collapsed buildings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
A rescuer stands in front of a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The interior of a house is seen following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti, central Italy August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
Rescuers work at a collapsed house following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
A woman stands in front of a collapsed house following an earthquake in Accumuli di Rieti, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
A man walks amidst rubble following an earthquake in Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Rescuers are seen working in the rubble of collapsed and damaged houses in the village of Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24 2016 following an earthquake. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (Crocchioni/ANSA via AP)
Rescuers search for survivors through rubble after an earthquake, in Accumoli, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. A devastating earthquake rocked central Italy early Wednesday, collapsing homes on top of residents as they slept. At least 23 people were reported dead in three hard-hit towns where rescue crews raced to dig survivors out of the rubble, but the toll was expected to rise as crews reached homes in more remote hamlets. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A survivor looks at the collapsed buildings of the town of Pescara del Tronto, Italy, after an earthquake, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (Cristiano Chiodi/ANSA via AP)

A state of emergency has been declared in the areas affected and aftershocks have continued to strike, including one of a preliminary magnitude of 4.7 on Friday morning.

It is believed Mr and Mrs Henniker-Gotley owned a property in Sommati, a village about 1.3 miles (2km) from Amatrice.

Their two children, believed to be aged 12 and 14, survived but their condition is unknown.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "It's terrible news, so awful. I knew them all very well.

"They were lovely. They were a lovely family. It's very hard to take in.

"They were very warm and friendly, extremely good neighbours. It's just so awful to think of their children."

She added: "I think Maria's father came from the village and was possibly born there. When he was ill - he has since died - they bought a house there and they go out every summer."

Another neighbour, who also did not want to be named, said: "They were just absolutely lovely people. He was an entrepreneur and she was finance director for Children & The Arts."

Marcos and his family were staying with the Henniker-Gotleys.

His parents, Anne-Louise and Simon Burnett, were both taken to hospital and their daughter also survived. Her condition is unknown.

The mother and father were initially taken to separate hospitals 40 miles (60km) from each other, where she was treated for facial fractures and he was being treated for a broken leg.

Rieti Hospital director Pasquale Carducci said: "The British woman was brought here by rescue workers on Wednesday while her husband was taken to L'Aquila.

"When we discovered he was there, we decided they would be happier together, so we decided to reunite them.

"Since the man was less badly hurt, it was easier to bring him to her. We hope that they can be a support to each other."

The latest aftershock hit the region at 6.28am local time on Friday. The US Geological Survey said it had a preliminary magnitude of 4.7.

Italy's national geological institute put the magnitude at 4.8. It was preceded by more than a dozen weaker aftershocks overnight and followed by another nine in the subsequent hour.

The quake zone has experienced more than 500 aftershocks, some measuring 5.1, in the two days since the original pre-dawn quake on Wednesday.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Thursday that a number of Britons had been "affected" by the earthquake.

He said extra staff had been sent to the region to help provide support to Britons, while the Government has offered "any assistance that we can" to the Italian authorities.

He said: "My deepest sympathies are with the Italian people and everyone affected by the terrible earthquake that struck central Italy.

"The British Government has offered any assistance that we can to help with the recovery effort and I have spoken with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni to express my condolences personally.

"As the scale of the disaster has become clearer, we now know that a number of British nationals have been affected.

"British embassy staff are in the region providing consular support, and we have deployed additional staff to support this effort."

Firefighters and rescue crews using sniffer dogs have been working in teams around the hardest-hit areas of the country.

"We will work relentlessly until the last person is found, and make sure no-one is trapped," said Lorenzo Botti, a rescue team spokesman.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing support to the families of Marcos Burnett and Will and Maria Henniker-Gotley following their tragic deaths in the earthquake in Italy. Our thoughts are with them at this incredibly difficult time.

"British Embassy staff will continue working with local authorities regarding any further British nationals that may require our assistance."

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