An Italian family has been reunited after all three of its children, including a seven-month-old baby were dug from the rubble after an earthquake on the Mediterranean resort island of Ischia.
Although relatively minor in scale, the 4.0-magnitude quake killed two people, injured another 39 and displaced 2,600 people in Casamicciola and the neighbouring town of Lacco Ameno on the northern end of the island.
Grave fears were held for the Toscano family’s children as rescue workers toiled for hours through the night before first pulling out 7-month-old Pasquale.
Rescuers hailed the courage of the older boys, who spent 14 and 16 hours respectively waiting to be freed, talking with firefighters all the while, eventually receiving water and a torch.
One official told AP the older boy, 11-year-old Ciro, helped save his eight-year-old brother, Mattia, by pushing him out of harm’s way under a bed.
“There are no words to express our happiness and satisfaction. We worked all night taking enormous risks,” Italian fire service spokesman Luca Cari told CNN.
“During the night [Ciro] screamed and cries: ‘Please save me, help! I don’t want to die’. Earlier this morning we were able to open a passage to pass him some water. Then a doctor, through that passage, gave him an oxygen mask so that he could breathe,” Mr Cari said.
The children were rescued hours after their father was dug from the rubble and their seven-month pregnant mother managed to free herself from their collapsed apartment.
“I don’t know how to define it if not a miracle,” the boys’ grandmother Erasma De Simone told AP after the family was reunited at a hospital.
“We were all dead, and we are reborn.”
The boys’ father, Alessandro, was on the terrace when the quake struck and their mother, Alessandra was in the bath with the three children playing on the floor below, Italian media reported.
One of the quake’s victims, an elderly woman, was killed by falling masonry from a church that had suffered damage in an 1883 earthquake that killed more than 2000 people.
The other victim died in the same apartment complex where the family was rescued.
The boys’ grandmother described Ciro as shaken by the ordeal.
– With agencies