At least three persons have been confirmed dead and several others including children have been reported still trapped under the rubble after several buildings collapsed in the Sicilian town of Ravanusa in Italy.
The buildings were reported to have caved in following an explosion that occurred after a methane leak from one of the buildings within the community.
According to the Italian emergency services on Sunday, the explosion occurred at about 8:30 p.m. yesterday in the town of 11,000 near the Sicilian city of Agrigento.
The explosion, after it went off, spread to six other buildings within the axis, forcing many to abandon their house to safer locations
One of the buildings, according to the eyewitness, was on fire after the explosion that was caused by the leak occurred within the axis.
Rescue workers were able to contain the fire triggered by the explosion around 11:15 p.m., but emergency workers could access the site due to “pockets of gas,” DRPC Sicilia said.
About 250 rescuers, including civil protection volunteers, joined the operation, aided by sniffer dogs and overhead drones.
They started to search the rubble for missing residents, including a young couple expecting a baby and two children.
One body was pulled from the rubble, DRPC Sicilia said, adding that two women were rescued and a further eight people remained missing.
Elderly women saved
An elderly woman was rescued from the rubble of a building “probably near to those affected by the disaster,” DRPC Sicilia said in an update early Sunday.
She suffered mild trauma and had been transferred to the hospital in the nearby city of Licata, the civil protection unit said. She suffered minor injuries, including some fractures, it added.
Another woman — believed to be the first one’s sister — was pulled out soon afterward, said DRPC Sicilia head Salvo Cocina.
Out of those still missing, nine were in the same building at the time of the explosion, ANSA reported.
“The search for the other missing persons by urban search and rescue and canine units continues unabated,” firefighters said in a tweet.