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62-Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Italy, Killing Several People ROME — Strong earthquakes struck central Italy early Wednesday, killing several people trapping many others under debris and setting off tremors that awakened sleeping residents in Rome nearly 100 miles to the southwest

The first, a 62-magnitude earthquake, struck at 3:36 am near the town of Accumoli, in the province of Rieti The mayor of Accumoli, Stefano Petrucci, reported that six people had been killed there And at least two people were reported to have been killed in Pescara del Tronto in the province of Ascoli Piceno, according to the authorities

Severe damage was reported in Amatrice, where Mayor Sergio Pirozzi said, “Half the town no longer exists” In the early morning, firefighters dug through the rubble of crumbled buildings in Amatrice, searching for survivors “There are people stuck in the rubble,” he said, calling on emergency services to help clear roads The paths of destruction led to other places, including the Tyrrhenian coast A witness in Sperlonga, a popular seaside town in Lazio, said that the historic city center had been seriously damaged, and news channels showed photographs of crumbled buildings and rubble-covered cars

The earthquake was felt from Rome to Bologna, in Emilia Romagna, in a broad area pockmarked with dozens of small towns Italian officials said it was difficult to gauge the number of casualties or the damage as the ground kept trembling through the night On social media, there were many reports of friends or relatives being buried or trapped and local residents said that the rescue effort was hindered by the fact that rescue teams were having difficulty getting to the mountainous area, where most towns are reachable only along winding country roads In Norcia, dozens of residents wrapped in blankets greeted the dawn in the town’s main square “Much of our patrimony is damaged, but there are no victims,” Mayor Nicola Alemanno told RaiNews24 “That is the good news

” None was as strong as the 62 quake Katherine Selby, who is from Nottingham, England, was vacationing with her family in Campagnano di Roma just outside Rome, when the wardrobe doors began “shaking like crazy,” she wrote on Twitter It was frightening because it was unclear what was going on, she said, adding that she was anxiously waiting for the next aftershock