Amatrice, Italy Earthquake: Relatives of victims view bodies

The first funerals are held as the number of bodies recovered increases

Rescuers carry away a body of a woman found in a collapsed house, in Amatrice, central Italy, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. Strong aftershocks rattled residents and rescue crews alike Friday as hopes began to dim that firefighters would find any more survivors from Wednesday's earthquake. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

AMATRICE, Italy (AP) – The Latest on the earthquake in Italy (all times local):

2:20 p.m. – Relatives of some of the dead from Italy’s earthquake are slowly streaming into an airport hangar in the regional capital of Rieti where their loved ones have been transported.

Four big white refrigerated trucks are parked inside the hangar, each one with a set of steps leading from the entrance. A bouquet of flowers has been laid on one of the steps.

The trucks are holding only a fraction of the 267 people killed by Wednesday’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake. Authorities have not confirmed information about the bodies in Rieti.

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1:50 p.m. – The first funerals are getting under way for some of the 267 victims of Wednesday’s earthquake in central Italy.

The news agency of the Italian bishops’ conference says one funeral will be held in Pomezia for two women and their granddaughters and three others killed in the quake. A close collaborator of Pope Francis, Bishop Marcello Semeraro, will say the funeral Mass.

A state funeral is scheduled for Saturday for the victims of Arquata, where 49 people died.

In addition, a common funeral service for the dead in the hard-hit towns of Amatrice and nearby Accumoli will take place next Wednesday.

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1:35 p.m. – The mayor of quake-struck Accumoli says he welcomes prosecutors’ investigation into the collapse of the town’s recently restored church bell tower, which killed a family of four as it crushed a neighboring home in Wednesday’s earthquake.

Mayor Stefano Petrucci said he hoped the restoration work on the tower – which used public funds to bring buildings up to anti-seismic standards – was done properly. He said the magistrate must find out if any shortcuts were taken.

Prosecutors are looking into both the bell tower in Accumoli and the collapse of a school in hard-hit Amatrice that reopened in 2012 after a similar anti-seismic renovation.

Petrucci said he thinks it was simply a tall tower hit by a strong, shallow earthquake. The quake left 267 dead and hundreds injured.

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12:15 p.m. – British celebrity chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver is joining an effort to raise money for Italian earthquake victims by donating a portion of proceeds from every plate of Pasta Amatriciana to the relief effort.

Oliver says that 2 pounds ($2.64) from the sale of the dish specific to the region will be donated.

Oliver told his Instagram following that “this could really make a difference,” and that money will go to firefighters, camps, food, clothing and medical assistance.

Oliver says “I think we can easily make thousands and thousands of pounds to help.”

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11:15 a.m. – The Italian government has decreed that a state funeral will be held Saturday for some of the victims of the earthquake. In addition, the government declared a day of national mourning for Saturday, with flags flying at half-staff on all public offices.

The funeral in a gym in Ascoli Piceno is to be celebrated by Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole for the victims of Arquata del Tronto. To date 49 of the dead have come from the tiny town and its nearby hamlet Pescara del Tronto.

Italian news agency ANSA said Italian President Sergio Mattarella would attend.

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10:15 a.m. – Romania’s foreign ministry says six Romanians have died and 17 Romanians are still missing in the Italian earthquake.

Updating earlier figures, the ministry said Friday that five Romanians were receiving treatment in local hospitals for non-life threatening injuries.

There are an estimated 8,000 Romanians living in the area where the quake struck.

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9:00 a.m. – Strong aftershocks rattled residents and rescue crews alike Friday as hopes began to dim that firefighters would find any more survivors from Italy’s earthquake. The first funerals were scheduled for some of the 267 dead.

Some of hard-hit Amatrice’s crumbled buildings suffered more cracks after the biggest aftershock of the morning struck at 6:28 a.m. The U.S. Geological Service said it had a magnitude of 4.7, while the Italian geophysics institute measured it at 4.8.

Rescue efforts continued through the night and into Friday, but more than a day and a half had passed since the last person was known to be extracted alive from the rubble. While Premier Matteo Renzi hailed the fact that 215 people had been rescued since the quake, civil protection officials reported only a steadily rising death toll that stood early Friday at 267.

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2:30 a.m. – New York City’s World Trade Center is honoring the victims of the earthquake in Italy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday directed the building’s 408-foot (124-meter) spire be lit in the colors of the country’s flag – green, white and red.

 

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