Ischia earthquake: Race to free last of three brothers from rubble

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Media captionThe moment a baby is rescued from the rubble

Rescuers are racing to free the last of three brothers trapped under rubble after a deadly earthquake on the Italian holiday island of Ischia.

The youngest brother, a seven-month-old baby, was rescued at around 04:00 (02:00 GMT), several hours after the 4.0 magnitude tremor struck.

His eight year old sibling was pulled free mid-morning and now rescuers are trying to reach the oldest, who is 11.

At least two women died and 39 people were injured in the quake.

It struck at 20:57 (19:57 GMT), at a depth of around 5km (3 miles), just north of the Casamicciola commune.

Ischia, off the coast of Naples, has a population of about 50,000 and is hugely popular with tourists, many of whom were out in bars and restaurants when the shaking started.

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The middle brother was rescued mid-morning

“A horrible experience, everything was shaking, plunged into darkness, houses were collapsing… a nightmare,” one person wrote on Twitter.

Another said: “I was on the couch watching TV. Blackout, shaking, something fell on my head. I scream, my mother grabs me and we ran outside.”

Hotels and homes were among a number of buildings damaged. One elderly woman was reportedly killed by debris falling from a church, while another body was found in the rubble of another collapsed building.

At least 1,500 people have been left homeless, Il Messagero reports.

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Some buildings completely collapsed in the earthquake

There were huge cheers when the baby, named locally as Pasquale, was pulled from the rubble of his family home in the early hours. His mother and father, and another woman, managed to escape earlier and raise the alarm.

Rescuers continued to work into the morning to reach Pasquale’s other brothers, Mattias, 8, and Ciro, 11, who had hidden under a bed and were able to receive water.

“There was silence for a while, they were tired. Then they began speaking again and we drew comfort from that,” said Luca Cari, a firefighter spokesman.

Cheers again erupted when a dusty Mattias was freed, and now efforts are focused on reaching Ciro.

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Hotels, a church, hospital and homes were damaged

Parts of the island were without power.

A hospital in another badly hit commune, Lacco Ameno, had to be evacuated. The injured were treated outside the building and a number of patients were airlifted to Naples, local media reported.

The Italian Red Cross confirmed on Twitter they were working with local authorities.

Extra ferries, from Naples to Ischia, were laid on during the night to bring more rescue workers to the island and allow holidaymakers to leave. Dozens of people are said to have ended their holidays early and Italian media said some tourists were sleeping on benches waiting for boats to arrive.

An emergency response team was quickly on the scene, partly because additional numbers were already on the island to fight localised bush fires.

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