Hundreds of coffins have been swept away and plunged into the seas after a landslide hit a cemetery in a village near Genoa on Tuesday.
Firefighters and rescuers from Camogli, a cliff-side village near the northern city of Genoa, rushed to save the coffins, many of which were damaged or destroyed after falling onto rocks about 50 meters below the cemetery .
Only a dozen of the more than 200 coffins swept away were found on Tuesday afternoon.
Images of open and partially destroyed coffins floating in the green waters of Camogli have been published by most Italian media and widely shared on social media.
The landslide appears to have been caused by coastal erosion, aggravated by severe storms that have hit northern Liguria in recent years. He also destroyed two chapels in the Camogli cemetery.
Genoa prosecutors have opened an investigation into the disaster, examining recent construction work in the area, which they say may have played a role in the landslide.
Local reports suggested that the Camogli slope began to suffer from instability issues after a major storm in 2018. Work to alleviate instability on parts of the cliff is underway.
Families who have lost the remains of their loved ones at sea will be offered support, the mayor of Camogli said.
“We will do our best to identify the bodies using DNA testing as well,” said Francesco Olivari. “We are also planning to create a team that would provide psychological support to these people, who are naturally in shock.”