200 Coffins Plummet to Sea as Italian Cemetery Built Along Cliffs Collapse

Authorities believe the cliffs of Camogli, on which the 100-year-old cemetery was built, collapsed due to erosion over time.

The collapse of a cemetery on the coast of Italy near Genoa caused 200 coffins to fall into the sea. The century-old Camogli cemetery was built 230 feet above sea level along a rocky seaside cliff, and a Monday landslide led to what the city’s mayor called an “unimaginable catastrophe.”

So far, only 20 of the descended coffins have been recovered. Authorities have found only 10 bodies among the debris and five so far have been identified.

Clara, a woman who lives nearby, told press that she witnessed the whole thing. “We were lucky we arrived at 5:30 p.m. so it was getting dark and we did not fully realize, but to see all these coffins floating in the water was shocking,” she said in Italian, according to APTN. “A terrible thing.”

No one was injured since the cemetery was closed to the public at the time after maintenance workers noticed some signs of fissures just days before the collapse and halted work immediately, CNN reported.

Officials believe the collapse happened due to the cliff eroding over time, and that damage was exacerbated by severe storms that impacted the area.

The coastal area below the cliff has been sealed off so as to keep the coffins from floating out to sea.

The local prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into what caused the incident. No one has been charged.