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20:27, 24 May 2018 Thursday
13:41, 22 August 2017 Tuesday

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Rescuers rush to free last child after quake hits Italian island
Rescuers rush to free last child after quake hits Italian island

Firefighters were digging with their bare hands to pull 11-year old Ciro, the last of three brothers buried in the debris, about 13 hours after the quake struck.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Rescuers on the Italian holiday island of Ischia were racing Tuesday to save the last child trapped by rubble after a magnitude-4.0 earthquake toppled buildings and left two people dead.

"There was silence for a while, they were tired. Then they began speaking again and we drew comfort from that," said Luca Cari, a firefighter spokesman.

A woman was killed in Casamicciola, in the north of the small tourist island, by debris that fell from a church, while the body of another was spotted in the rubble of a collapsed house, local media reported.

Firefighters broke into applause as a dusty Mattias, 7, was pulled free from under the bed where he had taken refuge. His 11-year old brother Ciro was conscious and talking to rescuers as they dug through to him.

Emergency workers had previously recovered the boys' seven-month- old brother, Pasquale, crying but alive, after hours of effort overnight after their pregnant mother sounded the alarm.

"In Casamicciola, a building collapsed and three people were pulled alive from the rubble -- two women and a man," the head of the local department of civil protection, Angelo Borrelli, said at a press conference early Tuesday.

Two small communes, Casamicciola and neighbouring Lacco Ameno, had borne the brunt of the quake, he added.

The quake hit the northwest of the island at 8:57 pm (1857 GMT), at a depth of just five kilometres. 

Italian authorities first put Monday night's quake at a 3.6 magnitude, but later revised it upward to 4.0 magnitude.

The main earthquake was followed by 14 smaller aftershocks, Borrelli said.

Several buildings in the area collapsed while others had large, ominous cracks.

Thirty-nine people were injured, one seriously.

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