Third of three brothers who were trapped in rubble of home freed by rescuers after magnitude 4.0 quake on island in Bay of Naples
Rescue teams working through the night and into Tuesday freed three brothers trapped in the rubble of a house on the Italian island of Ischia, after a magnitude 4.0 earthquake that killed two women and left 39 injured, at least one of them seriously.
The strength of Monday night’s quake under the Bay of Naples was revised up to magnitude 4.0 by the INGV, Italy’s seismic observatory, after initially being reported at 3.6. More than 2,500 people were reported to be homeless or displaced and about 1,500 have fled the island.
TV cameras recorded cheers going up as the last brother, 11-year-old Ciro, was carried on a stretcher from the rubble of his home at 2.12pm local time, 16 hours after the quake struck. Firefighters announced the success with a tweet that said: “Even Ciro is saved!”
Rescuers had earlier pulled out seven-month-old Pasquale, then eight-year-old Mattias. The two elder boys hid under a bed after the first tremor on Monday night.
The boys’ father, whose hands were bandaged after he spent the night digging through the rubble alongside the firefighters, could be seen tearfully hugging relatives as his eldest son was saved.
“It was a terrible night. I don’t have words to explain it,” the father told RAI state television while rescuers worked to free the older two boys. “The entire second floor of the house collapsed and the firefighters pulled me out. They were great.”
He said his wife was in the bathroom and managed to escape through the window, but the older boys were in the bedroom while the baby was in a playpen in the kitchen.
Luca Cari, the firefighter spokesman, described the work to free the boys as complicated. He said rescuers had maintained voice contact with the children throughout. “There was silence for a while, they were tired. Then they began speaking again and we drew comfort from that,” he said.
Hospital officials said all three were doing well, with the older two boys being treated for dehydration and the oldest for a fracture to his right foot. They were expected to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday.
One woman died after being buried under the rubble of her home in the town of Casamicciola while another was killed after being hit by debris falling from a church.
The earthquake came two days before the
first anniversary of an earthquake in central Italy , in which almost 300 people died. Ischia’s deadliest quake occurred in 1883, killing 2,300.
The quake hit during the height of the tourist season, with the island’s population of 64,000 ballooning by another 150,000 at the time the quake struck. Italian television showed many visitors taking refuge in parks and sleeping under blankets in the aftermath while authorities began organising ferries to bring tourists back to the mainland.
Television images showed about six buildings in the town as well as a church had collapsed in the quake, which struck just before 9pm as many people were having dinner.
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 were damaged, while more were arriving from the mainland.
Together with the nearby island of Capri, Ischia is a favourite island getaway for Europe’s rich and famous, known in particular for its thermal waters. It gained further fame after featuring in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels.
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