22 Aug 2017

One dead after 4.0 earthquake hits Italy

11:48 am on 22 August 2017

An earthquake of magnitude 4.0 has hit the tourist-packed Italian island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, killing at least one person and injuring some 25 others as buildings collapsed, officials say.

No caption

People search through the rubble after an earthquake hit the popular Italian tourist island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples Photo: AFP

Residents and tourists on the island ran out on to the streets from homes and hotels.

Television images showed about six buildings in the town of Casamicciola as well as a church collapsed in the quake, which hit at 8.57pm on Monday (Italian time).

Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV) put the magnitude at 4.0 but both the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the European quake agency, EMSC, estimated the magnitude at 4.3.

Local Civil Protection Department official Giovanni Vittozzi said one woman was killed when she was hit by falling masonry from a church and that officials were checking reports of another victim.

Helicopters and a ferry boat were bringing in more rescue workers from the mainland.

Roberto Allocca, a doctor from a local hospital, told Sky TG24 television that about 25 people had been treated for minor injuries. Most of the hospital had been evacuated and the injured were treated outside.

Some civil protection squads were already on the island because of brushfires.

The television reports said the buildings that collapsed appeared to have been inhabited and about 10 people were still unaccounted for.

The quake hit a few days before the first anniversary of a major quake that killed nearly 300 people in central Italy, most of them in the town of Amatrice.

- Reuters

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs