The death toll from a massive earthquake in central Italy has climbed to 247, local news agency ANSA reported on Thursday, citing the civil protection agency.
The magnitude-6 quake struck the regions of Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche at 3:36 am (0136GMT) on Wednesday, toppling buildings and leaving many people trapped under the rubble.
Hundreds of injured people had been rescued from the two worst-hit villages, Amatrice and Accumoli in Lazio, and more than 1,500 had been left homeless in Le Marche alone, ANSA reported earlier.
Late on Wednesday Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi told ANSA many people were still trapped under the rubble. “We’re preparing a spot for the bodies,” he said.
One focus of the town’s fears was the historic Hotel Roma, which collapsed with as many as 70 guests inside, according to state broadcaster RAI.
Federico Rocchi, a student in his 20s, told dpa that Amatrice had been completely destroyed.
“This is a town that is dead,” Rocchi said, adding he had lost many friends.
“It is a pain without limits,” Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said during a visit to the earthquake zone.