Holy icons, dazed dog saved from rubble in quake-hit Italy

A crucifix is seen amid the rubble of San Salvatore church in the village of Campi near Norcia, on Oct 31, 2016.
A crucifix is seen amid the rubble of San Salvatore church in the village of Campi near Norcia, on Oct 31, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (REUTERS) - Firefighters pulled a dog alive from the rubble of Italy's strongest earthquake in decades and salvaged religious statues and paintings from churches that crumbled in Sunday's (Oct 30) tremor.

Video released late on Monday showed rescuers, guided by their own sniffer dog, digging into the rubble to free a dog that emerged covered in dust and looking dazed but unharmed.

A statue of a religious figure was wrapped in a protective casing and wheeled out into the street in the medieval town of Norcia, which was close to the epicentre of the quake which measured 6.6 according to the US Geological Survey.

No deaths or critical injuries have been reported after the quake, Italy's strongest since one measuring 6.9 struck near Naples in 1980, killing 2,735 people.

Many people had left the affected areas after a smaller quake in August killed almost 300, and most of Norcia's homes appeared to have withstood the new quake, with residents lauding years of investment in anti-seismic protection.

Norcia's city walls were damaged and its churches badly hit, including the 13th century basilica of Saint Benedict, which collapsed, leaving just its facade standing.