ROME — The bodies of a man and a woman were recovered from the rubble of a four-storey residential building that partially collapsed in the town of Torre Annunziata near Naples, firefighters confirmed Friday.
Six more people are still missing, including two children. “We have located the unfortunately lifeless body of a second missing person,” firefighters tweeted late in the afternoon.
Rescuers have been working since 6:20 a.m. local time, when the third and fourth floors of the building collapsed while residents were still sleeping.
Eight people went missing after the collapse, including a couple with two children aged 8 and 11 years, the wife and 25-year-old son of an architect, a 65-year-old seamstress, and a man who works for the municipality, according to RAI public broadcaster.
However, the two retrieved bodies have yet to be identified, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
So far the only successful rescue was that of a dog called Peky, whose elderly owner escaped unharmed because he had gone out some one hour before the collapse, RAI reported.
“I saw the building crumble and I heard them screaming for help,” a woman who lives across the street told ANSA. “I know everyone in that building. My seamstress lives alone on the second floor.”
Torre Annunziata Mayor Vincenzo Ascione said the first two floors were uninhabited and were being renovated, according to ANSA.
Televised images showed firefighters, police, and volunteers were digging through the rubble with their bare hands in search of survivors, with rescue dogs sniffing over the area.
A total of 80 rescuers are taking turns in the search for survivors under the sweltering heat, firefighters tweeted.
The cause of the collapse remains unclear now.
Naples prosecutors have opened an investigation in an effort to clarify who may be at fault, ANSA reported.
The building’s foundations rest on a lava outcrop overlooking the Gulf of Naples, and reportedly dates back to the 1960s.
It also overlooks a railway line, where train traffic was interrupted after rubble from the collapse fell on the tracks. Xinhua-northboundasia.com