Sunday 25 February 2018

People stuck in collapsed homes after Italian quake

People remove debris after an earthquake hit Ischia island, near Naples. Photo: AP
People remove debris after an earthquake hit Ischia island, near Naples. Photo: AP

Nicole Winfield

An earthquake rocked the Italian island of Ischia at the peak of the tourist season last night, killing at least one person and trapping a half dozen others, including children, under collapsed homes.

Police said all but one of the people known to be trapped were responding to rescuers and were expected to be extracted alive.

One person, however, wasn't responding, raising worries the death toll could rise, said Giovanni Salerno of the financial police.

Officials feared others may be trapped in the rubble.

Salerno confirmed one person was killed by falling masonry.

At least three children and a couple were extracted from the rubble.

The quake collapsed some buildings, cutting electricity and sending panicked residents and tourists into the streets.

Italy's national volcanology institute said the temor struck just before 9pm local time, just as many people were having dinner.

News reports suggested the hardest-hit area was Casamicciola, on the northern part of the island.

At least one hotel and parts of a hospital were evacuated.

A doctor at the Rizzoli hospital, Roberto Alloca, told Sky TG24 that around 20 people were being treated for minor injuries at a makeshift emergency room set up on the hospital grounds.

Dr Alloca said the situation was calm and under control.

Civil protection crews, already on the island in force to fight the forest fires that have been ravaging southern Italy, were checking the status of the buildings that suffered damage.

Reports of the severity of the quake varied: Italy's national volcanology department gave the preliminary magnitude of 3.6.

But the US Geological Survey put the magnitude at 4.3, while the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre had it at 4.5.

All of them reported that the epicentre was just off Ischia at a depth of 10km.

Italian officials complained that the initially low 3.6 magnitude underestimated the power of the quake, which collapsed buildings.

Together with the nearby island of Capri, Ischia is a favorite island getaway for the European jet-set, famed in particular for its thermal waters.

Casamicciola was the epicentre of an 1883 earthquake that killed more than 2,000 people.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News