A powerful earthquake rocked Italy overnight killing at least 22 people. People were crushed by falling buildings and a lot more buried alive under rubble as they slept. The 6.2-magnitude quake hit at around 3.30am local time and was so powerful it rocked buildings in the centre of Rome more than 100 miles away and was felt across Italy. As daylight dawned, residents, civil protection workers and even priests began digging out with shovels, bulldozers and their bare hands, trying to reach survivors.
Survivors have described apocalyptic scenes in towns and villages near the city of Perugia - the capital of the tourist-packed Umbrian region, which is especially popular with British holidaymakers. Its epicentre was in Norcia in Umbria, about 105 miles north east of Rome, while the hardest-hit towns were reported as Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.
As people were carried out of ruined buildings on stretchers and people desperately searched the debris for survivors or sobbed as they inspected their own ruined homes, Mayor of Accumoli, Stefano Petrucci, said this morning: 'My town isn't here anymore'.
"Four people are under the rubble, but they are not showing any sign of life. Two parents and two children."
Rescuers, sniffer dogs and emergency services helped rescue some injured people to safety while the search for more people is ongoing as they heard cries from underneath the earth.
Tourists say they felt the terrifying shock more than 100 miles away in Rome after the quake devastated the areas of Accumoli, Amatrice, Posta and Arquata del Tronto.
The mayor of the small town of Amatrice said there had been extensive damage. "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. "The aim now is to save as many lives as possible. There are voices under the rubble, we have to save the people there."
He added today: "Now that daylight has come, we see that the situation is even more dreadful than we feared with buildings collapsed, people trapped under the rubble and no sound of life."
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