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Italy earthquake: Seven dead, 50 injured, authorities say

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
The Lookout

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Cars seen under rubble in Finale Emilia, Italy, after an earthquake, May 20, 2012. (Luca Bruno/AP)

At least seven people died and 50 were injured after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck northern Italy early Sunday, authorities there said.

According to CNN, two ceramic factory workers were killed in Sant'Agostino di Ferrara, another in a shed collapse in Ponte Rodoni di Bondeno, and three others in under rubble in various locations. Among the dead was a 106-year-old woman who was "killed in her bed by a falling roofbeam at her house in the countryside," Reuters reported.

A seventh victim died of an apparent heart attack during an evacuation in Bologna, CNN said, citing a spokeswoman for Italy's civil protection agency.

The quake struck just after 4 a.m. local time, with the epicenter between Modena and Mantova, about 22 miles north-northwest of Bologna, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Several aftershocks were also felt, and Italian authorities urged residents to remain outdoors.

                                       Click on image for more photos from the earthquake in Italy

According to Reuters, the quake damaged historic buildings including "the imposing 14th-century Estense Castle, symbol of the town of San Felice Sul Panaro and its most important building." In Finale Emilia, several cars were buried under rubble from a clock tower, which was destroyed in the quake.

"We have practically lost all our artistic patrimony," said Alberto Silvestri, mayor of San Felice, told the news service. "Churches and towers collapsed. The theater is still standing but has cracks."

The death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers search remote villages for victims.

More than 300 people were killed in 2009, after a 6.3-magnitude quake struck near L'Aquila, Italy.

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