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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Dozens of Schoolchildren Trapped in Rubble of Schoolhouse in Italy After Quake

Aired October 31, 2002 - 08:52   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Dozens of schoolchildren trapped in the rubble of a schoolhouse in south Central Italy. The building collapsed on them after an earthquake registered 5.4 on the Richter Scale, which makes it the strongest quake to hit Italy in the last five years. Rescuers on the scene. We've got a late live report now from CNN's Chris Burns.
Chris, what can you tell us?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jack, the Earth very much alive in southern Italy. Shook the earth. The latest figure, 5.4 on a Richter Scale. Enough to cause a lot of damage, enough to collapse the roof on a kindergarten in a small town of Santajapoula. That is in the Appernine (ph) Mountains on the Adriatic side, and this region that is near Campobasso. And the drama is there at the moment. Some 50 children, according to Italian media, are trapped under this collapsed roof, along with their teachers, along with school workers.

So far, the TV is reporting two children are injured. But the rescue workers have been impeded from getting inside there and rescuing those trapped, because, in part, there was a bridge that collapsed, leading to the school. That has slowed down the process.

In another town called Ladino (ph), there is a report of children hospitalized. This has happened in midday just when children are packed in schools across Italy, across Europe, for that matter.

So this drama, it is continuing now. The earthquake was heard -- was felt as far away as Rome and Naples. Now, of course, we talked to an expert who said in Naples, there was a fair amount of panic among a lot of people who thought the quake might be linked to Souvias (ph), if you remember well from your history books. The Souvias (ph) exploded and covered the town of town of Naples. So a lot of nervous people there. The vulcanologist insisting there is no link to Mount Souvias (ph) and they're insisting there is no link over here to Sicily and Mount Etna -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: All right, thanks. CNN's Chris Burns, reporting live.

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