ROME, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) — At least 14 people have died after a strong earthquake hit central Italy early Wednesday, local media reported.
Confirmed deaths included an elderly couple whose home collapsed at Pescara del Tronto in the Marche region to the east of the epicenter near Norcia, national broadcaster RAI reported.
Another death was reported in the nearby town of Accumoli, where there are also four other people believed dead under the rubble of collapsed houses.
"They are not showing any sign of life. Two parents and two children," said Accumoli mayor Stefano Petrucci.
Italian media reports also said two people have died under the rubble of a collapsed building in Amatrice, near Rieti, another town worst-hit in the quake in mountainous central Italy.
"The roads in and out of the town are cut off. Half the town is gone," said Amatrice's mayor Sergio Pirozzi. "There are people under the rubble... There's been a landslide and a bridge might have collapsed."
Aftershocks including a 5.5-magnitude one continued into early morning hours in villages and towns hit by the quake, which occurred at around 03:36 a.m. local time (0136 GMT). It was felt in a broad swath of Italy, including the capital Rome, some 170 km away from the epicenter in the region of Umbria.
Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said the magnitude was 6.1 while the U.S. Geological Survey put it at 6.2 and said the quake was shallow.
In 2009, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck L'Aquila in central Italy, killing more than 300 people.