ROME: At slightest 73 individuals have died in an devastating earthquake which crushed a string of residential areas in central Italy on Wednesday’s early hours, the civil protection department said.

One Hotel that broken down in the residential community of Amatrice most likely had around 70 visitors, and just seven bodies had so far been recouped, said the Mayor of the town that was one of the worst hit by the quake.

Hundreds of people trapped under the ruins of the collapsed building and a lot of people pulled out in an injured condition of which some were in very critical.

The strong 6.2 magnitude tremor demolished homes and locked streets in a group of mountain communities 140 km (85 miles) east of Rome. It was sufficiently effective to be felt in Bologna toward the north and Naples toward the south, each more than 220 km (135 miles) from the epicenter.

Italy’s earthquake institute, INGV, said the epicenter was near Accumoli and Amatrice, which lie between the larger towns of Ascoli Piceno to the northeast and Rieti to the southwest.

It was moderately shallow at 4 km (2.5 miles) beneath the earth’s surface. INGV reported 150 aftershocks in the 12 hours following the initial tremor, the most strongest¬†measuring 5.5.

Rescuers had pledged to work through the night in the hope of finding people alive in the mangled wreckage of homes.