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Italian apartment building collapses in Naples

An apartment building has partially collapsed near Naples in Italy. Rescuers are unsure how many residents may have been buried in the rubble. The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.

Two floors of an apartment building collapsed on Friday morning in the seaside town of Torre Annunziata outside the southern Italian city of Naples. Authorities fear that six to eight people may still be buried in the rubble. 

Some 30 firefighters were deployed to the scene, using long retractable ladders to assess the stability of those parts of the building still standing. Alongside them, rescuers and volunteers started digging out the debris by hand and carting it away in buckets as sniffer dogs searched the ruins for victims.

Italy's fire service shared a brief video of its earliest rescue efforts via Twitter, saying that at the time of filming, nobody had been found in the rubble.

 

There was no immediate word on the cause of the collapse. Witnesses speaking with Italy's ANSA news agency said that there had been no explosion beforehand, but that a train had just passed on the nearby tracks. 

Torre Annunziata Mayor Vincenzo Ascione told RAI state television that two children may be among the victims trapped in the building: "Rescuers might have picked up some sign of life. It is a very delicate moment. Let's hope for the best."

Torre Annunziata is located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius about four kilometers (roughly 2.5 miles) from the Pompeii archaeological site.

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js/msh (AFP, AP, dpa)

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