Two other people were still missing after the explosion that destroyed four residential buildings in the town of Ravanusa, in the south of the Italian island, the Sicilian regional civil protection unit added on Facebook.
The four bodies were found at dawn.
A new day of research begins painfully, according to a comment on a photograph showing firefighters standing in the ruins of buildings, posted on their regional service’s Twitter account.
Among the victims, a 30-year-old nurse, nine months pregnant and due to give birth next week. The body of Selene Pascariello was released along with those of her husband, Giuseppe Carmina, and the latter’s parents.
A retired teacher, recently recovered from a severe form of COVID-19, is also among the victims.
Two women were found alive in the rubble early Sunday by sniffer dogs, but rescuers have seen no signs of life since.
The explosion brought down four buildings, including one of four floors, in a residential area in the center of Ravanusa, a city of some 11,000 inhabitants, according to the civil protection unit.
Television images show a gigantic pile of rubble with charred and damaged buildings in the surrounding area.
An investigation has been opened to determine the causes of the explosion, which occurred on Saturday. Authorities believe it could be linked to a gas leak.
The natural gas distribution company Italgas said in a statement that it had not received any reports of gas leaks during the week preceding the disaster.
No work was underway on the affected section and the city’s distribution network underwent full inspections in 2021 and 2020, according to the company.
Neighbors told me there was a smell of gasresident Calogero Bonanno told Italian media.
I heard a huge crash, as if a bomb had gone off or a plane had crashed into the house, he said again.
Then the windows exploded. We immediately took to the street, there was fire everywhere, debris all around, continued this man who fled with his wife, their three children and his parents-in-law.
” It is a miracle that we are alive. “
According to the daily La Repubblica, the city’s gas network – deployed 36 years ago – is one of the oldest in Italy and extends over unstable ground, prone to erosion and landslides.
Sicily, one of the poorest regions of the country, suffers from deficient and aging infrastructure. Many buildings have been constructed over the past decades with cheap materials due to crooked contracts captured by the Mafia.