4.8 quake hits near Sicily’s Mount Etna

An natural disaster with a magnitude of 4.8 hit an area north of Catania on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily early on Wednesday, damaging buildings and injuring about 30 people, officials said. It was felt strongly because its epicentre was a relatively shallow one kilometre deep, officials said.

Television reports showed damage in the Sicilian towns of Santa Venerina and Zafferana Etnea.

The quake, which struck at 3.19am local time, was part of a series of some 1,000 mostly weak tremors, according to Italy's Civil Protection officials.

"Etna remains a risky volcano, and this country of ours is unfortunately fragile", government undersecretary Vito Crimi said as he reported 10 people injured.

A 4.8-magnitude quake struck Wednesday in the area near Europe's most active volcano Mount Etna, injuring several people, damaging buildings and forcing the partial closure of a highway, Italian civil protection authorities said.

Smoke rises from Mount Etna as seen at sunset from the city of Giarre Catania on Dec. 26 2018.
GIOVANNI ISOLINO  
AFP  Getty Images
Smoke rises from Mount Etna as seen at sunset from the city of Giarre Catania on Dec. 26 2018. GIOVANNI ISOLINO AFP Getty Images

A smoke column comes out of the Etna volcano in Catania, Italy, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. None of the injuries were serious.

One 80-year-old man was safely extracted from the rubble of his home, ANSA said, while a woman told state radio that her sister was pulled out from under a heavy armoire that had toppled.

Flights into Catania airport, which were halted temporarily, returned to normal at 8 p.m. Monday.

Video and images were posted on social media. Its frequent eruptions are often accompanied by large lava flows, but rarely pose danger to inhabited areas.

  • Rogelio Becker