Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits northern Italy


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The Independent Online

Deaths were reported today when a magnitude 5.8 earthquake shook northern Italy.

The mayor of one affected town said people had died, and authorities were investigating reports of possible victims.

The earthquake, which struck at 9am local time (8am UK time), was centred 25 miles north west of Bologna.

It hit the same region where a stronger quake killed seven people and caused some buildings to collapse just nine days ago.

Television footage on Sky News 24 showed evacuees from the previous earthquake peering out of shaking tents in disbelief.

San Felice mayor Alberto Silvestri said people had died, and he was heading from the industrial zone to the town centre for further information.

Schools and shops throughout the area were briefly evacuated as a precaution.

The earthquake was felt from Piedmont in north west Italy to Venice in the north east. Railway lines connecting Bologna with other northern cities were closed while authorities checked for damage.

Seven people were killed when a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the same region in the early morning of May 20.

Four of the victims were working overnight shifts in factories that collapsed.

The other three died of heart conditions or other illnesses brought on by fear.