Girl, 10, Rescued From Rubble 17 Hours After Devastating Italy Earthquake
It was a heart-stopping rescue effort as firefighters freed a 10-year-old girl trapped under debris for 17 hours following the devastating earthquake that rocked central Italy Wednesday morning.
In Sky Italia footage, the young girl's dust-covered legs could be seen poking out of the wreckage in Pescara del Tronto, a town located about 107 miles northeast of Rome.
A bystander named Pietro appears to know the young girl, and could be heard yelling her name, "Giulia!"
Firefighters then tell each other, "Slowly, slowly," as they slowly remove the debris and pull little Giulia out from under the rubble.
As she is freed, bystanders break out into loud applause, and could be heard exclaiming, "She's alive," and "Look at the beautiful girl," before a firefighter carried her to safety.
In a statement to the press, firefighter Danilo Dionisi, who helped rescue the 10-year-old, said: "She is being taken to the hospital and that is good news.
"As far as the rest is concerned, the images speak for themselves, you can see what the town looks like," he continued.
Officials estimate that at least 247 people have died as a result of the 6.8-magnitude earthquake and the 470 aftershocks that followed.
184 of the dead were from Amatrice, the town hit the hardest. The mayor of Amatrice said he expects death tolls to rise since many are still reported injured or missing.
Because many vacationers travel to the region every summer, a Spaniard and five Romanians were among the dead, the Associated Press reported.
At least 264 people have been hospitalized.
Though prospects at this point are dim, search efforts continue. Sniffer dogs have aided rescue workers as flood lights lit up several towns early Thursday to search for signs of life.
"We will work relentlessly until the last person is found, and make sure no one is trapped," rescue team spokesperson Lorenzo Botti said.
Many who made it out safely are staying in tents set up around the devastated towns that are housing at least 1,200, although the mood continues to be tense as many are left penniless.
"They have lost everything: The work of an entire life, like those who have a business, a shop, a pharmacy, a grocery store," a volunteer caring for the 350 homeless in Amatrice said. "From one day to another, they discovered everything they had was destroyed."