World News

Italy earthquake: Child saved after 15 hours under rubble

Posted August 21, 2017 7:39 p.m. EDT

Italian rescue workers have freed the last of three children trapped under rubble after a deadly earthquake on the Italian holiday island of Ischia off the coast of Naples.

Eleven-year-old Ciro had been stuck for more than 15 hours, according to rescue services.

Two people are confirmed dead, the Department for Civil Protection said on Tuesday.

The first victim, a woman, was caught in the partial collapse of a church, civil protection officials said. A second victim was caught under rubble and rescue workers were trying to recover the body.

Rescue workers toiled through the night to free Ciro's two brothers, first pulling out 7-month-old Pasquale, and then Mattias.

"There are no words to express our happiness and satisfaction. We worked all night taking enormous risks," said Luca Cari, a spokesman for the Italian fire service.

"The two older boys took refuge under the mattress of their double-deck bed when the house collapsed. The older one, Ciro, who is 11, the last one to be saved, is now in a good condition. During the night he screamed and cries: 'Please save me, help! I don't want to die'. Earlier this morning we were able to open a passage to pass him some water. Then a doctor, through that passage, gave him an oxygen mask so that he could breathe."

The boys' father, Alessandro, was on the terrace when the quake struck and their mother, Alessandra, who is seven months pregnant, was in the bath with the three children playing on the floor below, Italian media reported.

The parents were rescued first and then had an agonizing wait as rescue workers dug under the ruins of their home to find the children.

Authorities said 42 people were injured, with around 2,600 without shelter. More than a thousand tourists have already evacuated from the island, Italian media reported.

"We have sent away more than a thousand people who wanted to leave and today we set up a structure to assist the population," Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy's Civil Protection force, told La Repubblica newspaper.

He said engineers were checking hotels to make sure they were structurally sound before transferring those whose accommodation was damaged in the quake.

The earthquake hit shortly before 9 p.m. local time Tuesday as many holidaymakers were sitting down to eat. The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 4.3. Italian authorities earlier put it at 3.6, before revising it to 4.

One confirmed victim, an elderly woman, was hit by debris as a church collapsed in the town of Casamicciola on the north of the island, police said.