AMATRICE, ITALY (CBSMiami) — Rescue efforts are underway in central Italy after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake overnight Wednesday destroyed dozens of buildings and sent people running from their homes.
At least 120 people are reported dead and the death toll is expected to rise.
Hours after the earthquake hit, rescue teams led a man in a white apron, covered in blood, away from the devastation in Amatrice, Italy and carried a little girl to safety.
Frantic residents and emergency workers used buckets, bulldozers, and even their hands to dig through the debris.
A rescue worker with the Department of Civil Protection, Andrea Gentili, said, “We need chainsaws, shears to cut iron bars, and jacks to remove beams – we need everything.”
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at 3:30 a.m. while most Italians were asleep. Several aftershocks followed.
“The whole ceiling fell on my head, I just managed to put a pillow on my head so I wasn’t hit,” said Maria Gianni who survived the earthquake.
The hardest hit towns and villages are in the mountains of central Italy, about one hundred miles northeast of Rome.
The mayor of one hard-hit town said a family of four was trapped under a collapsed building with no signs of life.
While the mayor of Amatrice said, “the town isn’t here anymore.”
He made a plea for more help to clear the streets and rescue the injured.
The office of Italy’s Prime Minister tweeted out, “heavy equipment is on the way.”
In another instance, a family dog was pulled from a small space carved in one collapsed home. Rescuers are still digging – hoping to find survivors.
The State Department is asking U.S. Citizens in Italy to contact family or check in on social media. One place to do that is Facebook. The social media service has activated its Safety Check in the region.