New earthquake hits Sicily near Mount Etna volcano

Quake is latest in dozens of tremors since Europe’s most active volcano erupted on Monday

An earthquake measuring magnitude 4.8 hit the area north of Catania on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily early on Wednesday (December 26), causing some damage to buildings and about 30 minor injuries, officials said.

 

An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.8 hit an area north of Catania on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily early on Wednesday, damaging buildings and injuring about 30 people, officials said.

It occurred two days after Etna, Europe’s highest and most active volcano, erupted, sending a huge column of ash into the sky and causing the temporary closure of Catania airport on Sicily’s eastern coast.

Firemen work in the ruins of a house after an earthquake hit the village of Fleri, Catania district, Italy, early on December 26th. Photograph: EPA
Firemen work in the ruins of a house after an earthquake hit the village of Fleri, Catania district, Italy, early on December 26th. Photograph: EPA

The earthquake hit at 3.19am, prompting many people to run out of their homes and sleep in cars. It was felt strongly because its epicentre was a relatively shallow one kilometre deep, officials said.

Television footage showed damage to older buildings in the towns of Santa Venerina and Zafferana Etnea.

Several of the area’s centuries-old churches appeared to suffer the most damage. They were empty at the time of the quake.

About 30 people suffered injuries, mostly from falling masonry as they fled from their homes, officials said.

About 10 were taken to hospital by ambulances, the others were taken by friends and family members. None of the injuries were serious. - Agencies