Scores Killed After Powerful Quake Hits Italy

  • A man is rescued alive from the ruins following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, Aug. 24, 2016.
  • Rescuers work following an earthquake in Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, Aug. 24, 2016.
  • An injured woman (C) is carried by rescuers amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in Amatrice, central Italy, on Aug. 24, 2016, following a 6.2 magnitude earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), that struck at around 3:30 am local time (1:30 am GMT).
  • A man is rescued from the rubble of a building after an earthquake, in Accumoli, central Italy, Aug. 24, 2016. 
  • A man leans on rubble following an earthquake in Amatrice Italy, Aug. 24, 2016.
  • Rescuers search for victims in the rubble after a strong heartquake hit Amatrice on Aug. 24, 2016. 
  • Rescuers carry a stretcher following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, Aug. 24, 2016.
  • Rescuers carry the body of a victim next to the rubble of buildings in Amatrice on Aug. 24, 2016 after a powerful earthquake rocked central Italy. 
  • Volunteers work to move rubble and debris during search and rescue operations in Amatrice on Aug. 24, 2016 after a powerful earthquake rocked central Italy.
  • Rubble of a building collapsed in Amatrice, central Italy, where a 6.1 earthquake struck just after 3:30 a.m. in Amatrice, Italy, on Aug. 24, 2016.
  • A mother embraces her son in Amatrice, central Italy, central Italy, on Aug. 24, 2016, following a 6.2 magnitude earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), that struck at around 3:30 am local time (1:30 am GMT).
  • Aerial view of Amatrice in central Italy, Aug. 24, 2016, as it appears after a magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m.
  • Rescue and emergency services personnel searches for victims with a dog in the central Italian village of Amatrice, on Aug. 24, 2016 after a powerful earthquake rocked central Italy.
  • People cover themselves with blankets near a car as they prepare to spend the night in the open following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, Aug. 24, 2016.
  • Rescuers work in the night at a collapsed house following an earthquake in Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, Aug. 24, 2016.
  • A man sits on a bench after spending the night in a makeshift camp set up inside a gymnasium following an earthquake, in Amatrice, central Italy, Aug. 25, 2016.
  • A fireman stands next to ruins in the central destroyed street of Amatrice in central Italy on Aug. 25, 2016 after a strong eartquake that claimed at least 247 lives. 

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Updated

AMATRICE, Italy — Rescue teams aided by sniffer dogs searched for survivors Thursday, more than 24 hours after a powerful earthquake reduced several central Italian towns to rubble and killed almost 250 people.

Helicopters buzzed overhead as crews used everything from heavy equipment to their bare hands to pick through collapsed buildings in search of anyone still alive in the ruins.

Thousands of displaced residents slept overnight in tents or school gyms and officials said 264 others had been hospitalized — but the exact number of dead and missing in Wednesday’s disaster remained unclear because the region’s population was swelled by tourists.

One of the worst-hit towns, Amatrice, was full for this weekend’s planned festival honoring its native bacon-and-tomato sauce dish — spaghetti all’ amatriciana.

Five bodies were pulled from the wreckage of a hotel late Wednesday but rescue work was suspended when conditions became too dangerous. Among those killed was an 11-year-old boy who had initially shown signs of life.

Elsewhere in the town, onlookers clapped and cheered as a young child was pulled from the rubble in a moment captured by La Repubblica newspaper.

For more go to NBCNews.com

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