Magnitude-5.8 quake strikes Italy, deaths feared (Lead)

April 6th, 2009 - 10:37 am ICT by IANS  

Rome, April 6 (DPA) A magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck central Italy early Monday, causing buildings to collapse in the historic centre of L’Aquila and raising fears of fatalities.
Rome, Abruzzo and other parts of central Italy were hit by the quake, whose epicentre was in the area of Abruzzo’s capital, L’Aquila, at a five-km depth, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.

L’Aquila residents were shaken from sleep and ran out in panic onto the city’s streets.

Emergency services authorities said the quake struck at 3.32 a.m. (0132 GMT) with a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale.

The US Geological Survey initially reported the strength of the quake at 6.7 before lowering it to 6.3.

In the hours before the earthquake, two tremors had occurred with magnitudes of 3.5 and 3.9, they said.

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