Deadly building collapse in Italy

DESPERATE SEARCH: Rescue workes scour the rubble of two collapsed houses in Palermo for survivors.
DESPERATE SEARCH: Rescue workes scour the rubble of two collapsed houses in Palermo for survivors.

Four people were killed and at least seven were injured when an apartment block collapsed onto another in Palermo's historical city centre, Sicilian emergency services say.

The accident is the latest of several similar incidents in Italy, where illegal construction and lax building standards are rife.

The building that collapsed had a newly added top floor.

Firefighters and police discovered the bodies of two men aged 54 and 82 during initial searches, and later morning rescued a girl from the rubble.

Searches during the day found the bodies of two women aged 80 and 74.

Seven people were slightly injured, Italian media reported.''We heard creaking and stones slipping, and instinctively we got out of the building,'' a woman who lived in one of the buildings told reporters.

Gaetano Vallefuoco, head of the firefighters in Palermo, told reporters the collapse was due to structural problems and was not due to a gas leak.

Reuters