Wiped off the map

Spe­cial re­port from cen­tre of quake that’s claimed 120 lives

Daily Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY and Chief Re­porter in Sant’An­gelo, Italy MARTIN FRICKER ANDY LINES martin.fricker@mir­ror.co.uk

MORE than 200 peo­ple, in­clud­ing dozens of chil­dren, were last night feared dead af­ter an “apoc­a­lyp­tic” earth­quake shook cen­tral Italy.

The 6.2-mag­ni­tude quake struck at 3.36am and trapped hun­dreds of vic­tims in their homes as they slept.

Res­cuers heard chil­dren scream­ing as they tried to reach them through the rub­ble, while some sur­vivors used their bare hands to hunt for miss­ing rel­a­tives.

The dis­as­ter, with its epi­cen­tre close to the town of Nor­cia, flat­tened sev­eral nearby towns and vil­lages – in­clud­ing Ac­cu­moli, Ama­trice, Pescara del Tronto and Arquata del Tronto.

Last night the death toll stood at 120 with at least 368 in­jured and many more miss­ing. Among the vic­tims were sev­eral tourists vis­it­ing an an­nual pasta fes­ti­val.

Pescara mayor Ste­fano Petrucci said: “All the houses have col­lapsed. I’ve never seen such an apoc­a­lyp­tic scene.

“We have a tragedy here. Build­ings have col­lapsed, peo­ple are trapped un­der the rub­ble and there is no sound of life.”

Ser­gio Pirozzi, mayor of neigh­bour­ing Ama­trice, said: “Our town isn’t here any more. Three quar­ters of it is gone.

“There are tens of vic­tims, many of them still un­der the rub­ble. There are voices, we have to save the peo­ple there.”

The earth­quake lasted 20 sec­onds and more than 80 af­ter­shocks were felt across much of cen­tral Italy – in­clud­ing cap­i­tal Rome, 85 miles to the south west.

SHOCK­WAVES

It was so strong shock­waves were recorded in Croa­tia and the UK, where tre­mors hit four min­utes af­ter­wards.

Res­cue ef­forts were ham­pered by the col­lapse of bridges, mean­ing emer­gency ser­vices had to get there on foot.

Blood-soaked sur­vivors were pho­tographed be­ing car­ried out of their flat­tened homes on stretch­ers.

In the town of Ac­cu­moli, two brothers and their par­ents were killed when a church bell tower fell on their home.

An­drea Tuc­cio, his wife Gra­ziella and their sons Ri­cardo, eight, and Ste­fano, seven months, were asleep.

Res­cuers tried to reach them but they were de­clared dead at the scene.

Wit­ness Emil­iano Gril­lotti said: “You could hear the cries of the mother and one of the chil­dren.”

As an emer­gency worker car­ried away one of the bod­ies, the boys’ dev­as­tated grand­mother said: “God took them all at once.”

An­other fam­ily of four, in­clud­ing two chil­dren, were among those killed in Ama­trice. Vol­un­teer An­gelo Maggi, 33, said: “They died in their beds. They were all sleep­ing in one room.”

A two-year-old girl died in hospi­tal af­ter be­ing trapped un­der tonnes of rub­ble in the same town. An­other tod­dler, Marisol Pier­marini, 18 months old, was killed in her bed when the fam­ily home in Arquata was flat­tened. Her par­ents Mas­si­m­il­iano and Martina moved from L’Aquila af­ter their pre­vi­ous home was de­stroyed in the 2009 earth­quake that killed 300 peo­ple. The tot’s grand­fa­ther Massimo, who found the body, said: “Sadly, there was noth­ing to be done for the baby.” An­other tragic young­ster was named as seven-year-old An­drea Ser­afini. His aunt Maria Rita told lo­cal TV: “I saw him and CPR was died when 6.3 quake hit Italy’s Aquila re­gion in 2009 use­less.” An­drea’s twin brother Si­mone was fight­ing for his life in hospi­tal.

Brothers Leone, six, and Sa­muele, four, had a mir­a­cle es­cape when their gran Vi­tal­iana pushed them un­der their bed when the quake struck. She also sur­vived but her hus­band Vito died.

Ama­trice’s sur­vivors hud­dled to­gether next to bon­fires in the town’s main square, des­per­ately await­ing news on their loved ones.

Bod­ies were taken to a lo­cal school and the court­yard of a coun­cil build­ing to be for­mally iden­ti­fied.

Among the miss­ing are six refugees from Afghanistan, three nuns and four el­derly guests at a board­ing house.

Res­cuers were also try­ing to lo­cate an 11-year-old boy who sent a text mes­sage to his fa­ther say­ing he was trapped. Lo­cal res­i­dent Lisa Mer­can­tini said: “The earth­quake was so strong.

“It seemed the bed was walk­ing across the room by it­self with us on it.”

Marco Santina said: “It was a mir­a­cle for me to sur­vive. Ten sec­onds were enough to de­stroy ev­ery­thing.”

Shaken pa­tients at Ama­trice’s Francesco Gri­foni hospi­tal re­called how they were told by staff to run for their lives.

Paola Mancini, 79, said she heard nurses in the cor­ri­dors yelling, “get out, get out” af­ter the first tremor hit.

She added: “It was a long shake. We were re­ally scared, paral­ysed with ter­ror. I heard ev­ery­thing around me crum­ble.

“The first am­bu­lance ar­rived, a man on a stretcher was in­jured, cov­ered by

blood and shocked. He was cry­ing and kept say­ing, ‘My wife is dead be­cause our house col­lapsed’.”

Lon­doner Eve Read was hol­i­day­ing with her fam­ily in a rented cot­tage.

She said: “It was par­tic­u­larly fright­en­ing for the chil­dren. We all ended up hud­dling in the door­way.”

Luisa Fon­tanella, 68, a re­tired teacher, was on hol­i­day with her hus­band, daugh­ter and grand­son.

Limp­ing into the park in her nightie, she said: “It was a boom like I have never heard in all my 68 years.

“I was in the earth­quake here in 1950 and my fa­ther saved me af­ter a rafter fell on my bed and trapped me. I have al­ways been trau­ma­tised by that.

“This time our stairs col­lapsed. We

All the houses col­lapsed.. it’s an apoc­a­lyp­tic scene.. peo­ple are trapped un­der rub­ble

were stuck in the house for an hour then res­cue work­ers lifted us out. I was cov­ered in dust.”

Zaida Beluli, who lived with her three sons and five grand­chil­dren, was last night pre­par­ing to sleep rough in a park af­ter their home was de­stroyed.

She said: “All we have is this blan­ket. We heard a huge rum­ble and left the house with the kids. It col­lapsed straight af­ter.” She said her four-year-old grand­son was ter­ri­fied af­ter see­ing a dead in­fant re­moved from a house.

Bar owner Gian­marco di Carmine, 54, told how he heard a noise like a “bomb had gone off ”. He added: “I ran out­side in my un­der­pants. I ran to my mother’s house 100 me­tres away and got her out. She is so trau­ma­tised she doesn’t re­mem­ber any­thing.”

Gian­marco lost his cousin Giuseppe Porro, 84, and his cousin’s daugh­ter-in­law, 45. He added: “Other rel­a­tives are still miss­ing. I still can’t believe it is hap­pen­ing. It feels like a night­mare.

“We are used to earthquakes here, but not like this. I can no longer recog­nise my town.”

As well as the 2009 earth­quake in L’Aquila, a tremor hit the north­ern Emilia Ro­magna re­gion in May 2012, killing 23 and leav­ing 14,000 home­less. STE­FANO PETRUCCI PESCARA DEL TRONTO MAYOR YES­TER­DAY

RU­INS Build­ings re­duced to rub­ble in Pescara del Tronto yes­ter­day SHOCKED Hor­ri­fied lo­cals sur­vey the devastation in Ama­trice CAR­NAGE Bird’s eye view of dam­age in Ama­trice

BLOOD­IED Wounded nun in dev­as­tated town of Ama­trice

MIR­A­CLE ES­CAPE Man is freed from rub­ble yes­ter­day

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