ROME (AFP/APP): Firefighters on the Italian island of Sicily searched through piles of rubble Sunday for survivors of a massive blast that toppled multiple residential buildings and killed at least three people.
Although two women were recovered alive from the debris early Sunday following the buildings’ collapse Saturday night in the southern town of Ravanusa, six people remained missing and Sicily’s regional civil protection unit confirmed three deaths.
The explosion, which occurred around 1930 GMT Saturday, and was believed to have been caused by a gas leak, appeared to have levelled four buildings in the central residential district of Ravanusa, a town of nearly 11,000 inhabitants.
Television images showed a mass of rubble, wooden beams and mangled steel in a large empty space, with neighbouring buildings charred and damaged.
As the day wore on, firefighting rescue teams continued to comb through the wreckage, removing slabs of concrete and other materials, but without new signs of survivors.
“Since this morning when we saved two women, for a few hours now we haven’t heard signals under the rubble,” Luca Cari, the spokesman for Italy’s national firefighters, told Sky TG24 television.
“This certainly doesn’t mean at all that we’ve given up hope but obviously with the time passing it doesn’t play in our favour.”
The civil protection unit said on its website that “four buildings were involved” in the incident, but local news reports said the number was higher.
Drone footage published on the firefighters’ Twitter page showed smoke still rising from the wreckage site, while adjacent buildings showed major signs of damage, including roofs half blown off.
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