Volunteers and firefighters dug through debris and recovered eight bodies after the partial collapse of a five-story apartment building in #Torre Annunziata, Naples (Italy) on Friday. The early morning collapse happened around 6:30 a.m., and volunteers and approximately 80 firefighters mobilized at the site and used drills, diggers, and their hands to search for victims throughout the night and into Saturday.

The final body was discovered early Saturday morning. Eight people are confirmed dead. An elderly resident, 85-years-old and who lived alone in the building, was among the victims, according to officials. Throughout the search for of the site, firefighters requested that onlookers remain silent as they were hopeful of hearing and finding survivors.

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Periodically, firefighters had #detection dogs check the site, as well. The dogs signal when they detect signs of life.

The interiors of some apartments in the building are now exposed. Until heavy equipment used in the search arrived at the scene, several of the rescuers passed rubble in buckets. Firefighters on retractable ladders continually checked the remaining structure for its stability.

Officials say eight died in the collapse

Francesco Murciano, Carabinieri Marshall, said that rescuers immediately intervened. The Carabinieri arrived at the site first. He described the scene as “chilling.” He said they started digging without any tools, and with “bare hands.”

Three victims, according to Italian media in the area, include the municipal architect who oversees security for both public and private buildings that impact roughly 40,000 people at the base of Mount Vesuvius.

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His wife and his son, age 27, died when their apartment’s bedrooms collapsed. A couple and their two young sons, aged eight and 14, are also dead, according to local media.

Luca Cari, the national fire brigade spokesman, said all of the victims’ bodies have been recovered. He said all were found dead.

Pope Francis extends condolences to people hurt by the tragedy

In a telegram sent from Pope Francis to the Archbishop of Naples, the Pope expressed that he prayed to the “God of Mercy” for comfort to people injured and suffering after the death of their loved ones. According to Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Secretary of State, the Pope sent “profound condolences” to the victims of the collapse in Torre Annunziata.

The Pope closed his message by stating that he conveyed his Apostolic Blessing, which was a sign of his “spiritual closeness.”

The Red Cross in Europe, which has its genesis in the American Red Cross founded in Washington, D.C., in 1881, tweeted the Italian Red Cross assisted in the rescue efforts:

Witnesses describe a train passing before the building partly collapsed

According to witness accounts, a train had just passed when the collapse happened.

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Italian railway officials stated that vibrations from trains passing through do not affect the stability of nearby buildings. They said ballast absorbs the railway’s vibrations.

The Torre Annunziata district is a seaside town. Three miles from Pompeii’s archeological site is where the collapse happened. Mayor Vincenzo Ascione said it is not clear if there was a connection between the work and the collapse of the apartments, which were built in the 1950s overlooking the sea.

A scenic train line connecting Naples with the Amalfi coast and Pompeii – the Naples-Salerno line – was closed after the incident because some masonry had fallen. The railway line enjoining the sites is popular with tourists worldwide – with Naples and Pompeii ranked the most often visited tourist destinations in the area near Naples. Pompeii receives 2.5 million tourists each year.

Authorities are investigating what caused the collapse. The Torre Annunziata prosecutor’s office opened an inquiry to determine if negligence was a factor. One theory is that renovation work on the lower floors of the building is possibly related to the tragic incident. #apartment building collapse