Italy earthquake death toll rises to over 241 people

The death toll from a devastating earthquake in central Italy reached at least 241 people on Thursday and could rise further after rescue teams worked through the night to try to find survivors under the rubble of flattened towns.

The 6.2 magnitude quake struck a cluster of mountain communities 140 km (85 miles) east of Rome early on Wednesday as people slept, destroying hundreds of homes.

The Civil Protection department officially revised the death toll down to 241 from a previous 247 given earlier on Thursday morning.

Officials said they expected to confirm more deaths as the search operation continued. Trucks full of rubble left the area every few minutes, including one in which a dusty doll could be seen lying on top of tonnes of debris.

On Thursday, the sun rose on frightened people who had slept in cars or tents, the earth continuing to tremble under their feet from aftershocks, hundreds of which have struck since the quake. Two registered 5.1 and 5.4, just before dawn. (Reuters)

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