Terror in Italy as TWO powerful earthquakes strike within just two hours of each other
Rescuers are searching in darkness and heavy rain after two powerful earthquakes hit an area of central Italy, knocking out power and sparking panic.
A quake - known in Italian as a terremoto - measuring 5.4 at 7.10pm local time shook buildings as far away as the capital, Rome, 80 miles away.
Two hours later a strong aftershock pulverised buildings which had already been weakened by the earlier tremor.
Some buildings have collapsed, a motorway has been closed and many people in the countryside were plunged into darkness as the power was knocked out.
But the head of Italy's civil protection agency, Fabrizio Curcio, said so far they had only heard of one fatality - a 73-year-old man who died of a heart attack.
He said some people were treated for slight injuries at hospitals in the regions of Umbria and Le Marche.
Mr Curcio said: 'All told, the information so far is that it's not as catastrophic.'
But the Mayor of the town of Ussita, Marco Rinaldi, said: 'It was a very strong earthquake, apocalyptic. People are screaming on the street and now we are without lights.
'Many houses have collapsed. Our town is finished.'
Mr Rinaldi said: 'The second quake was a long, terrible one.'
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is on his way to Rome to monitor the situation, tweeted: 'I want to thank everyone who is working in heavy rains in areas of #terremoto. All of Italy embraces the strong communities affected.'
The mayor of Serravalle del Chienti, Gabriele Santamarianova, said the quake felt 'like bombs were falling'.
'We saw a cloud of dust, we don't yet know what has fallen down. We'll see once the sun comes up.'
A match between Pescara and Atalanta in Serie A was halted for four minutes when the second earthquake hit, causing panic as the stands shook for more than 10 seconds.
We didn't feel anything on the pitch. But my teammates told me that the substitutes' bench shook
Mattia Caldara, Atalanta defender
Many spectators left the Stadio Adriatico in Pescara but the game resumed and the visitors went on to win 1-0.
Pescara defender Hugo Campagnaro said: 'At the time we didn't realise anything, because we were moving. Then, once we heard the fans shouting and saw people leaving, we understood.'
Atalanta's Mattia Caldara said: 'We didn't feel anything on the pitch. But my teammates told me that the substitutes' bench shook.'
The epicenter of both tremors was registered in the Valnerina valley, a mountainous area between the cities of Macerata and Perugia, the capital of the Umbria region, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) from the Stadio Adriatico.
US Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle said of the area: 'They have a lot of old buildings that weren't constructed at a time with modern seismic (building) codes.'
One Twitter user in Italy, Sofia, wrote: 'I'm so scared of these earthquakes don't think i'll sleep tonight #Terremoto.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3875648/Powerful-earthquake-hits-ancient-city-Rome-central-Italy.html#ixzz4OFlcvTZj
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