UK & World News
Last Italy Quake Victim Retrieved From Rubble
The body of the last person missing from an earthquake in Italy has been pulled from the rubble at a collapsed factory, raising the death toll from the disaster to 17.
Rescue workers recovered the body from the ruins of the Haematronic factory, where three other workers had been found dead after the 5.8 magnitude quake devastated the region on Tuesday morning.
The powerful earthquake struck in the north of the country and has left an estimated 14,000 homeless.
Earlier, a 65-year-old woman had been rescued from the rubble of her home in Cavezzo, as officials warned of more aftershocks in the region's second earthquake in less than two weeks.
The quake, which injured 200 people, came just nine days after an earlier tremor claimed six lives and left 7,000 without a home.
The Italian government has announced an increase in fuel excise duty to help fund aid for the battered regions.
Residents in cities including Turin and Venice rushed into the streets in panic when the quake struck 40 miles east of Parma.
Just a few hours later, the region was struck by three more quakes of between 5.1 and over 5.3 magnitude. As night fell one person was reported missing.
The search for survivors in the small town of Medolla was launched after muffled cries for help were heard from beneath the debris of damaged buildings, SKY TG24 television said.
Workers at the Haematronic precision mechanics factory near Modena told how they ran for their lives as the ground shook beneath them, tearing the building apart and sending masonry crashing to the ground.
"Everything happened so fast, in about seven to eight seconds. I don't even remember. I ran out carrying the piece I was working on and I saw everything crumble," said one worker who gave his name as Daniel.
As the dust began to settle after the quake those who had made it to safety realised at least three people, an Italian, an Indian and a Moroccan, had been crushed to death by the falling masonry.
"I'm grief-stricken, speechless. I have no tears left to shed," Daniel added, explaining that he had worked with the dead men at the Meta factory in San Felice sul Panaro for years.
One of the victims had been living in a tent at a camp since the 6.0-magnitude quake on May 20, which destroyed many homes and historic buildings.
"I have to leave the building, we're being hit by a long, powerful tremor. I have to get out," a civil protection agency spokesman in Mantua reportedly said as one of the tremors struck.
A fireman in the tiny town of Cavezzo told Corriere della Sera newspaper: "Everything's collapsed, it's chaos, buildings across the town are down."
Authorities in the Emilia Romagna region said over 5,000 people had been evacuated from their homes and emergency places arranged for 4,000 homeless.
"Last night was the first night we'd spent back in our homes after the first quake. Then another one hit," one resident told SKY TG24 television in Sant'Agostino.
Among the quake victims was a parish priest in the town of Rovereto di Novi who was killed by a falling beam, reportedly after he went back into his church to save a Madonna statue.
Dust filled the air in the picturesque towns of Carpi and Concordia, while in Mirandola rubble covered the Duomo floor and the roof gaped open.
In Mantua, the Ducal Palace, famous for a stunning collection of frescoes in the Wedding Room, was damaged, along with a number of historic churches.
"A new quake has hit the Emilia Romagna region, leaving victims, wounded people and damaged buildings in its wake," Prime Minister Mario Monti said in a televised address from Rome.
Pope Benedict XVI sent his condolences to the families of the victims of the quake, which was felt throughout northern and central Italy.
The region has been hit by a series of quakes and aftershocks over the past two weeks. Authorities have registered at least 800 tremors since May 20.
The latest disasters came just over three years after a 6.3-magnitude quake devastated the city of L'Aquila in central Italy, killing some 300 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.