Three boys were rescued after two people were killed and at least 39 injured in a 4.0 magnitude earthquake on the popular Bay of Naples island of Ischia Monday night.
The two dead were women, one buried by plaster in a church and the other engulfed by the ruins of her house.
Rescuers found 11-year-old Ciro Marmolo, in the ruins of a house that collapsed at Casamicciola after his two brothers aged three, Mattias, and seven months were pulled out alive.
Ciro saved Mattias by pulling him under a bed with him after the quake, police said. “Then he hit the rubble with a broom handle to attract rescuers,” said Ischia Finance Guard commander Andrea Gentile.
Ciro suffered multiple abrasions and the fracture of a right toe, hospital sources said Tuesday. Mattias has slight concussion, trauma to the left collar bone and left arm, and multiple grazes to his chest. Both boys will stay in hospital.
Ciro told hospital staff that “when everything collapsed I embraced my brother (Mattias) and then when the rescuers arrived I pushed him out first,” ANSA learned. Earlier, two men and two women were pulled out of rubble alive.
One of the injured is in a serious condition.
Many tourists have already left the island on specially laid-on ferries.
Civil Protection chief Angelo Borrelli and fire service chief Bruno Frattasi are on the island.
Premier Paolo Gentiloni called them to congratulate rescuers on saving the three boys. The government is set to call a state of emergency and the civil protection department will appoint a special commissioner after the earthquake, the department said in a statement.
The two dead woman have not yet been identified.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella phoned the mayors of Ischia villages Casamicciola and Lacco Ameno to voice his condolences for the two women killed and his solidarity and closeness to the population affected, the president’s office said. Mattarella said he would visit the municipalities hit by the quake as soon as possible and he assured his “attention for reconstruction”.
Mattarella congratulated civil protection, fire and police officers for their rescue efforts and voiced “special wishes” to the three boys rescued. The local mayors had voiced appreciation for the “prompt and efficient” rescues, he said.
Premier Paolo Gentiloni tweeted “Italy is united in grief for the victims and in solidarity. We are at the side of the forces working on rescues and aid”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has vacationed several times on Ischia, voiced her “deepest closeness” with the islanders and “with the rescuers who are doing their best to help”.