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Priest pulled from rubble says rescue was a ‘great miracle’

A priest and nun were among those who survived Wednesday’s earthquake against the odds

A priest pulled from the rubble several hours after a massive earthquake hit Italy has hailed his rescue as a “great miracle".

Fr Krzysztof Kozlowski, from Poland, was trapped in his destroyed home in Accumoli on Wednesday before finally being pulled out several hours later. His next-door neighbours had died.

As he waited for help he experienced the terror of aftershocks, fearing they would bring down the rest of the structure.

“Even as I was waiting for help, for someone to bring me out of the apartment, I could feel the tremors. I was afraid they could destroy whatever was left of my house," the priest told the Polish broadcaster TVN.

The priest, who has served in Accumoli for two years, said his next-door neighbours, a family with a six-year-old child and an eight-month-old baby, had died.

“This is a great miracle for me. I was miraculously saved, rescued by a rescue team. I was born anew," Kozlowski said.

When the earthquake struck Amatrice, a medieval hilltop town, half the convent there collapsed, apparently killing three nuns and four elderly women.

Several elderly women had been enjoying a reprieve from the summer heat when the earthquake hit.

Sister Mariana, a 32-year-old from Albania, was one of three nuns and an elderly woman who survived because they were in a part of the convent that was not fully destroyed.

She said the other survivors escaped holding hands.

“They saved each other, they took their hands even while it was falling apart, and they ran, and they survived," she said.

She is now being cared for by her fellow nuns in Ascoli Piceno to the east, and was being checked out at a local hospital after being wounded on her forehead and inhaling dust.

At the time of writing the death toll from the earthquake was reported to be more than 240.


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