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Thursday, August 25, 2016, 15:50

Anguish as Italy toll reaches 247

By Associated Press

Anguish as Italy toll reaches 247
Two people hug each other next to the remains of a collapsed house following an earthquake in Pescara Del Tronto, Italy, Aug 24, 2016. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 am and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

AMATRICE, Italy — Rescue crews raced against time Thursday looking for survivors from the earthquake that leveled three towns in central Italy, but the death toll rose to 247 and Italy once again anguished over trying to secure its medieval communities built on seismic lands.

Dawn broke over the rolling hills of central Lazio and Le Marche regions after a night of uninterrupted search efforts. Aided by sniffer dogs and audio equipment, firefighters and rescue crews using their bare hands pulled chunks of cement, rock and metal apart from mounds of rubble where homes once stood searching for signs of life.

One area of focus was the Hotel Roma in Amatrice, famous for the Amatriciana bacon and tomato pasta sauce that brings food lovers to this medieval hilltop town each August for its food festival.

Amatrice's mayor had initially said 70 guests were in the crumbled hotel ahead of this weekend's festival, but rescue workers later halved that estimate after the owner said most guests managed to escape.

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