CNN BREAKING NEWS
In Italy, Children Trapped in Rubble of School Building
Aired October 31, 2002 - 09:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking news we need to get to out of Italy, so we need to go ahead and do that, because we are following this breaking story, and it does concern some children.
At this hour, frantic scramble underway for survivors, hours after a strong earthquake rumbled across central and southern Italy. Dozens of children are believed trapped in the rubble of their school. And Italian television is reporting that the bodies of four children already have been recovered. Fire officials say another 10 people have been pulled out alive, but injured.
And right now, we have our Chris burns on the phone from Italy to tell us more.
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Daryn. Among the injured, eight seriously injured according to officials. So the drama is deepening there at this small town called Santa Guilano Pulia (ph). That is deep in the Apinine (ph) Mountains on the Adriatic side in southern Italy, an area, much of the area is very remote, very difficult to get to, and what made it even more difficult to get to that school, is a kindergarten where the roof collapsed on top of that. In addition, a bridge collapsed leading to the school. That had complicated rescue efforts.
There is also, in another town called Larino (ph), children were hospitalized. Keep in mind, this earthquake estimated at 5.4 on the Richter Scale, happened at midday when children were packed in schools across Italy. This caused an even more dangerous situation for many people during this quake. This happened, the quake was centered around the Campobasso area, if that means anything to anybody. But in any case, it's in the Apinine (ph) Mountains.
And it's serious enough, perhaps we've only seen the tip of the iceberg here, the head of civil defense for Italy has departed, is on his way from Sicily, where I am right now, covering earthquakes and the eruption of Mt. Etna, he's headed toward that area in the Apinine (ph) mountains because of the seriousness of that earthquake -- Daryn.
KAGAN: Chris, we've been hearing so much in Italy about Mt. Etna and the volcano that's been having a lava flow, but as I understand it, these two things are not related?
BURNS: That's right. That's what volcanologists are saying, they are not related, of course, the earthquake in the Apinine (ph) frayed a lot of nerves, caused a lot of concern in the town of Naples. It was felt as far away as Naples and Rome. Naples, keep it mind, that is where Vasuvius (ph) is, the explosive volcano that at the moment is dormant, but it could spring to life at any time, so a lot of people very nervous here in Italy -- Daryn.
KAGAN: And, Chris, what's the toughest challenge here in trying to get to these kids and get them help?
BURNS: Well, definitely, it is the collapsed roof of this school that has come down on the children as well as their teachers and the workers there. That has been the most difficult thing. But of course, then complicated it was even getting to it in the first place, but apparently, the rescue workers have been able to bridge over the gap, as you will. They have gotten through there, but it's a very delicate situation, getting under that roof, trying to pull out people alive.
KAGAN: Chris Burns in Italy, thank you. We'll be checking back with you, and we also have reporters on the way to the scene of the rescue.
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