5 people killed in quake in northern Italy
A strong earthquake rocked a large swathe of northern Italy early on Sunday (May 20) morning, causing at least five deaths and collapsing rural factories and ancient bell towers in towns.
The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 4:04 a.m. (0204 GMT) and had a magnitude of 5.9, was in the plains near Modena.
One person working a night shift died in the collapse of a factory and two others were killed in the collapse of another building. Rescue officials were checking reports that other people were buried under rubble.
First television pictures taken after dawn showed serious damage to historic buildings and rural structures. Parts of a historic fortress in one town collapsed. Thousands of people in the area rushed into the streets after the quake, felt in the major towns of Bologna, Modena, Ferrara, Rovigo, Verona and Mantua.
A series of strong aftershocks hit the area and local mayors ordered residents to stay out of their homes.
The quake was centered 22 miles (35 km) north-northwest of Bologna at a relatively shallow depth of 6.3 miles (10 km), the U.S. Geological Survey said.