Italy quake survivor, 11, says it's a miracle to be alive

by COLLEEN BARRY - Associated Press

AUGUST 23, 2017 - MILAN (AP) — The 11-year-old boy who was rescued in a 16-hour operation that also freed his two younger brothers after the earthquake that struck the island of Ischia said in an interview with Italian media Wednesday that "it is a miracle we are all still alive."

Ciro Marmolo spoke to La Repubblica in a hospital room where he is being treated for a fracture suffered when his right foot was immobilized by rubble. Doctors say the fracture is not serious and is expected to fully heal, but the boy will be transferred to a hospital in Naples where specialists can monitor his circulation.

113984Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti wears a firefighters helmet as she walks among damaged buildings in Casamicciola, on the resort island of Ischia, near Naples, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. A 4.0 magnitude earthquake hit Ischia Island on Monday, killing two people. Corrado Amitrano/ANSA via APCiro was hailed as a hero by officials, who praised his courage throughout the ordeal and said he helped save his middle brother, 7-year-old Mattias, by pushing him under the bed.

"It is already a lot that we are all alive," Ciro told La Repubblica in a video that had his face pixelated, in line with restrictions in Italy on publishing images of minors. "In a second phase, we need to think about a new house, our most valuable objects and our memories."

"This is the proof that God exists," he said. "It is a miracle we are all still alive."

113984Corrado Amitrano/ANSA via APA car is flattened beneath debris, in Casamicciola, on the resort island of Ischia, near Naples, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. A 4.0 magnitude earthquake hit Ischia Island on Monday, killing two people.The Toscano-Marmolo family has been left homeless by the quake that struck the northern side of the island off Naples Monday evening, killing two people including one of their neighbors.

While the boys' mother and the step-father of the two older boys were quickly brought to safety after the Monday evening quake, it took dozens of firefighters working overnight to free first 7-month-old Pasquale after seven hours, Mattias another seven hours later and finally Ciro.

Ciro said that rescuers stayed upbeat throughout the operation, telling them not to worry and that help had arrived.

113984Corrado Amitrano/ANSA via APA view of the damage inside a house in Casamicciola, on the resort island of Ischia, near Naples, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. A 4.0 magnitude earthquake hit Ischia Island on Monday, killing two people.The last thing he remembered during the ordeal was waking up after having fainted, and seeing what had been a small hole now large.

"My brother wasn't there anymore, and I had an oxygen mask on my face," he said. "Then with a rope, they pulled me up, all of them, slowly, slowly. Then there were all the people, friends, relatives, at the ambulance and they gave a huge round of applause."

Doctors said that Mattias would be released from the hospital on Wednesday but that the boys' mother, Alessia, and baby Pasquale will remain until the family has a new place to live.

113984Fabrizio Colarieti/ANSA via APA monument dedicated to a firefighter rescue dog Camilla is inaugurated in Amatrice, central Italy, a year after a deadly quake left nearly 300 people dead, Wednesday, Aug. 23 August 2017. The dog Camilla died in June and had helped save many lives on the night of Amatrice's earthquake."Even if this is hospital and not a place to recuperate, it seemed terrible to put on the street a pregnant mother who suffered all that she has suffered, and is in an unusual psychological situation," Dr. Giuseppe Parisi told reporters in Ischia.

Authorities have organized emergency shelter, which housed 200 people on Tuesday night, down from 2,600 the night of the quake. It was not clear where Mattias and his step-father, Alessandro Toscano, would be staying in the meantime, but Mattias' and Ciro's biological father and other family members have been present throughout the ordeal.

113984AP Photo/Gregorio BorgiaPope Francis walks down the steps at the end of his weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. Francis led pilgrims and tourists at his general audience Wednesday in prayer for the victims and those who lost their homes in the 4.0-magnitude quake on the island of Ischia on Monday.During his general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis offered prays for the victims and those who lost their homes in the Ischia quake, which came just days before the one-year anniversary of a much stronger, 6.2-magnitude quake that destroyed several towns in central Italy, killing nearly 300 people.

Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed.

 

Page created on 8/24/2017 8:55:54 AM

Last edited 8/24/2017 9:14:12 AM

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