The scale of the devastating Italian earthquake was laid bare this morning as shocking pictures and terrifying eyewitness accounts revealed how four towns were almost wiped off the map in just a matter of seconds.
At least 50 people were killed, including two babies, and 150 people are missing, believed to be trapped under rubble after the 6.2-magnitude quake struck at 3.30am local time while villagers slept in their beds.
Today rescuers spoke of hearing children’s screams from the rubble and locals were spotted frantically digging with their bare hands to try and save loved ones.
Deadly earthquake in Italy claims dozens of lives:
The quake which devastated the Umbrian mountainside towns and villages of Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto and Pescara del Tronto was so powerful that it even rocked buildings in the centre of Rome more than 100 miles away and was felt as far away as Croatia.
Survivors today 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.
The quake’s epicentre was near Norcia in Umbria, about 105 miles north east of Rome, and falling bridges and landslides meant some areas are still cut off with emergency teams only able to get there on foot.
The mayor of Accumoli, Stefano Petrucci, said this morning: ‘My town isn’t here anymore’ 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.