At least 8 foreigners among dead in Italy quake, say officials, as grim search for corpses continues

Firemen help in recovery work in Accumoli, Italy, August 25, after the 6.2 earthquake struck Italy the day earlier that killed at least 247 people.
Firemen help in recovery work in Accumoli, Italy, August 25, after the 6.2 earthquake struck Italy the day earlier that killed at least 247 people. PHOTO: EPA
Woman arranges the bed in her room in a tent camp in Arquata Del Tronto, Italy, August 25, after the 6.2 earthquake struck Italy the day earlier that killed at least 247 people.
Woman arranges the bed in her room in a tent camp in Arquata Del Tronto, Italy, August 25, after the 6.2 earthquake struck Italy the day earlier that killed at least 247 people. PHOTO: EPA
A fireman stands next to ruins in the central destroyed street of Amatrice in central Italy on August 25, after a strong eartquake that claimed at least 247 lives in Central Italy.
A fireman stands next to ruins in the central destroyed street of Amatrice in central Italy on August 25, after a strong eartquake that claimed at least 247 lives in Central Italy. PHOTO: AFP
Volunteers assist rescue and emergency services personnel at the damaged Hotel Rome in the central Italian village of Amatrice, August 25.
Volunteers assist rescue and emergency services personnel at the damaged Hotel Rome in the central Italian village of Amatrice, August 25. PHOTO: AFP
Rescuers work following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24.
Rescuers work following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - At least eight foreigners were among the 250 people killed when a powerful earthquake struck central Italy this week, officials said, as rescuers continued the grim search for corpses on Friday (Aug 25).

The bulk of the confirmed deaths - 193 at the latest count - were in the small mountain town of Amatrice, which normally has a population of around 2,500 but was packed with visitors when the quake struck as people slept in the early hours of Wednesday.

Three British citizens were killed in the 6.0-6.2 magnitude quake, which had a shallow depth of 4km exacerbating its impact, an official from Amatrice told the BBC.

The British Foreign Ministry did not immediately confirm the report, but Foreign Minister Boris Johnson has said a number of British nationals were affected.

"My deepest sympathies are with the Italian people and everyone affected by the terrible earthquake," said Mr Johnson, who sent condolences to his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni.

Britain's Daily Mirror reported that one of the victims was a 14-year-old boy from London, who was visiting Amatrice with his family. The boy's parents were injured, while his sister survived and did not need hospital treatment, the newspaper said.

Two Romanians were among the dead, the country's Foreign Ministry said Thursday, while four nationals were injured and eight more were still missing.

Spain's foreign minister said one Spanish national had been killed, with Spanish media saying it was a young woman who had lived in the village of Illica with her Italian husband, who survived.

Canada and El Salvador both said that one of their citizens had been killed in the earthquake.

"We share in the grief of the lives cut short by this terrible event," said Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion in a statement.

El Salvador said the victim, Ms Rosaura Valiente Oviedo, had been living in Italy since 2009. Her son Roberto Valiente survived with minor injuries.

The disaster comes seven years after an earthquake in the nearby city of L'Aquila left 300 people dead, raising questions about Italy's ability to prepare for seismic events.