- Last Updated: 9:43 AM, May 29, 2012
- Posted: 8:40 AM, May 29, 2012
MODENA, Italy -- A 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit northern Italy on Tuesday, killing at least 15 people, just a week after a deadly tremor shook the same area.
The quake struck shortly after 9:00am local time, causing factories, houses and historic churches to collapse and rattling buildings as far away as Milan and Venice.
Many local people were already living in temporary shelter following a 6.0-magnitude quake May 20 that killed seven people and injured 50.
The epicenter of Tuesday's quake, at a shallow depth of six miles, was close to Modena, a city of 170,000.
A strong aftershock measuring 5.6-magnitude hit the area at 12:55 p.m. local time, the US Geological Survey said. The tremor, at a depth of 6.2 miles, shook for nearly 30 seconds, the ANSA news agency reported.
At least 15 people were killed in the quake, and rescue operations were underway to extract trapped people from rubble, Sky Italia's TG24 reported.
Hundreds were feared injured, and as many as 6,000 people would require emergency shelter, authorities said.
Among the fatalities, three people were killed when buildings collapsed in San Felice sul Panaro, near Modena, the Gazzetta di Modena newspaper reported.
The mayor of the town, Alberto Silvestri, told TG24 that he feared the toll could rise.
"Unfortunately, there are victims. There are people under the rubble. I cannot tell you anything more. The situation is very serious," he said.
In nearby Mirandola, at least three workers were killed at an industrial building when it collapsed.
Two priests were reported killed, in Carpi and Rovereto, although authorities would not confirm that both deaths were directly related to the earthquake.
"A new quake has hit the Emilia Romagna region, leaving victims, wounded people and damaged buildings in its wake," Prime Minister Mario Monti said in a televised address. "I send the government's condolences to the families of the victims and call on all citizens to have faith. I'm sure we'll get over this moment."
The quake forced offices and businesses to be evacuated across northern Italy, including those of automakers Ferrari and Lamborghini, while schools were cleared.
A soccer match between Italy and Luxembourg scheduled to take place in Parma, 32 miles from the epicenter, was called off.