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Three young brothers pulled alive from Italian natural disaster

23 August 2017

Italian officials say one person has died and seven people are unaccounted for after a 3.6-magnitude quake struck the resort island of Ischia late Monday.

The two brothers survived in an air pocket under the rubble after they sheltered under their bunk beds when the house began to collapse and rescuers managed to lower bottles of water and a flashlight down to them.

The boys' mother, who is reportedly pregnant, managed to escape through a window when the quake struck while their father was pulled out from beneath masonry soon afterwards.

The youngest, a 7-month-old, was rescued during the night.

All three brothers were alert when they were rescued but were taken to hospital for checks.

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"Ciro is safe too!", tweeted firemen at 2.15 p.m. local time.

The victims were an elderly woman who was in a church that crumbled in the quake, and a second person who has been located in the rubble but not yet extracted.

Italian authorities first put Monday's quake at 3.6, but subsequently revised it upward to magnitude 4.0.

"Italy is united with Ischia in sorrow for, and solidarity with, the victims", Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Twitter.

Authorities haven't confirmed the ages of Ciro and Mattias. Italian news media showed the boy, covered in dust, being whisked on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance.

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The children's father told RAI state television that boys were in a bedroom when the quake struck, while he and his wife were elsewhere in the house.

Despite their ordeal, hospital officials say the three children were in remarkably good condition.

The quake struck just days ahead of the first anniversary of the magnitude-6.0 quake that killed almost 300 people in and around Amatrice in central Italy. By late Tuesday, some 11,000 had left for Naples.

Two small communes, Casamicciola and neighboring Lacco Ameno, had borne the brunt of the quake, he added. According to Ermanno Mennella of the Federablberghi hoteliers association in Ischia, just 10 of the island's 310 hotels were impacted by the quake and only three or four were closed for inspection.

Together with the nearby island of Capri, Ischia is a favorite island getaway for the European jet set, famed in particular for its thermal waters. More than a thousand tourists have already evacuated from the island, Italian media reported. He also cited the high incidence of illegal construction on Ischia and generally in the Campagna region that includes both the resort island and Naples.

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Former Naples prosecutor Aldo De Chiara said most of the recently constructed buildings on Ischia were built without necessary permits, and many with poor quality cement. "Unfortunately, what we had denounced happened last night".

Three young brothers pulled alive from Italian natural disaster