Aftershocks rattle rescuers as Italy quake toll rises
The mayor of this medieval mountain town, which suffered the largest number of casualties from a devastating earthquake in central Italy, said Friday that two heavily damaged bridges have been closed, threatening to cut the town off from the outside world.
Mayor Sergio Pirozzi said he was working with authorities to find alternative routes to bypass the damaged bridges. “We hope to God it works, because otherwise, with the damaged stretch of road, we are without any connection” to the main roads, he said.
Even before the bridges were shut down Friday, roads have been choked with heavy traffic as emergency vehicles bring scores of rescue crews up to town and dump trucks carry tons of concrete, rocks and metal back out the single-lane roads.
Officials said Friday that the death toll from Wednesday’s earthquake that rocked central Italy increased to 267, with 387 people being treated at hospitals.
Rescue teams continued to look for possible survivors despite hundreds of aftershocks that were hampering first responders digging around already damaged buildings in the hardest-hit areas.
Rescues teams are wary that more crumbled buildings might come down amid nearly 1,000 aftershocks that have jolted the region. The biggest one struck at 6:28 a.m. local time with a magnitude of 4.7, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Although it has been 24 hours since anyone has been pulled alive from the rubble, Immacolata Postiglione, chief civil protection agency, insisted the rescue effort continues at full speed and had not switched to a recovery mission.