Four other bodies extracted from collapsed buildings in Italy


This photo taken and released by Italian firefighters (Vigili del Fuoco) on December 12, 2021 shows firefighters working after the collapse of a four-story building, following a gas explosion, in Ravanusa on December 12, 2021 . Vigili del Fuoco / AFP

Rescuers on Monday found four more bodies in the rubble of collapsed buildings in Sicily after a massive explosion likely caused by a gas leak, bringing the official death toll to seven, officials said.

“The search continues unabated” for two other people missing after four apartment buildings collapsed on Saturday evening in the southern town of Ravanusa, the island’s Civil Protection Unit announced on Facebook.

The last victims were found at dawn.

A photograph posted to the area’s firefighting service’s Twitter account showed firefighters standing on the rubble as “another day of searching begins painfully.”

Two women were found alive in the debris on Sunday morning after being found by sniffer dogs, but rescuers heard no other signs of life.

The explosion razed four structures, including a four-story apartment building, in the city’s central residential area of ​​nearly 11,000 residents, according to the civil protection unit.

Images from the scene showed a mass of concrete rubble, wooden beams and mutilated steel in a large empty space, with neighboring buildings charred and damaged.

An investigation has been opened into the cause of the explosion, which authorities said was most likely a gas leak.

Natural gas distributor Italgas said in a statement that it had not received any reports of a gas leak in the week leading up to the incident.

No construction work was underway in the section of the pipeline affected by the explosion and the city’s distribution network was fully inspected in 2020 and 2021, he said.

A local resident, Calogero Bonanno, said that “the neighbors told me there was a smell of gas”.

“I heard a huge roar, as if a bomb had exploded or a plane had crashed into the house,” he told Italian media.

“Then the window frames exploded. We immediately took to the street, there was fire everywhere, rubble all around, ”he said after having fled with his wife, three children and his in-laws.

“It is a miracle that we are alive.”



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