Deadly northern Italy earthquake hits heritage sites.
20 May 2012 Last updated at 10:52 GMT
Deadly northern Italy earthquake hits heritage sites
People were jolted out of their beds to seek the relative safety of streets
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An earthquake in northern Italy has killed at least four people and caused serious damage to buildings in several towns, local officials say.
The magnitude-six quake struck in the middle of the night, about 35km (22 miles) north of the city of Bologna.
The four victims were killed by falling masonry. Italian media report two more quake-related deaths.
The tremor caused "significant damage to the cultural heritage" of Emilia Romagna region, the government said.
The culture ministry said firefighters and civil protection workers were now examining damaged historic buildings.
It was the worst tremor to hit the country since the L'Aquila quake killed nearly 300 people in central Italy in 2009.
'Big bang' Continue reading the main story Northern Italy quake
- Kills at least four and damages buildings across Emilia Romagna region
- San Felice sul Panaro: 15th-Century castle severely damaged
- Finale Emilia: bell tower collapses, crushing cars
- Sant'Agostino: ceramic factory destroyed, killing two employees
- Tecopress di Dosso: worker dies when a factory roof collapses
- Buonacompra: historic church destroyed
- Tremor also felt in cities of Bologna, Modena, Ferrara, Rovigo, Verona and Mantua
The earthquake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10km just after 04:00 local time (02:00 GMT).
It was felt across a large swathe of northern Italy, including the cities of Bologna, Ferrara, Verona and Mantua and as far away as Milan and Venice.
The tremor forced many terrified residents into the streets.
Two people were killed in Sant'Agostino when a ceramics factory collapsed.
The mother of one of the victims told local media that "he wasn't supposed to be there. He changed shifts with a friend".
Another person - believed to be a Moroccan national - was killed in Ponte Rodoni do Bondeno.
In Tecopress di Dosso, one worker died when the roof of foundry collapsed, Rai News24 reports.
Local media also say a woman died near Bologna, with reports suggesting that she may have had a heart attack. Another victim was an elderly woman in Sant-Agostino.
About 50 people were injured - but none seriously, reports say.
Two people were killed when a ceramics factory collapsed in Sant'Agostino
Aftershocks were reported soon after the quake.
"I was woken at around 4am by the quake, it was strong and lasted up to a minute, maybe more," Frankie Thompson, a UK travel journalist in Bologna, told the BBC.
"Church bells were set off spontaneously... followed by an eerie silence. Small aftershocks kept coming and going until maybe 5:50am when a stronger tremor shook us again but not as long and dramatic as the first," she added.
Last edited by R. M. Dixit; 20-05-2012 at 05:57 PM.