Hundreds of coffins from a cemetery tumbled into the sea after a landslide caused the collapse on Monday near Genoa. The cemetery is believed to be over a hundred years old and is situated along an area of rocky seaside cliffs.
The mayor of Camogli, Francesco Olivari, termed the collapse as an “unimaginable catastrophe.” Nearly 200 coffins are believed to have fallen into the sea, while only 10 of them have have been recovered, CNN reported. Recovering the rest of them “will depend on the sea in the coming days,” Giacomo Giampedrone, regional assessor of civil protection, was quoted as saying.
On Saturday, maintenance work along the area of the fragile coastline was abruptly halted when workers noticed cracks in the rock.
“We were doing work on a portion of the rocky coast. It was close to the area that fell today,”Olivari told CNN. “Some signs of fissures were seen. We decided to close the cemetery.” He said they called the officials at the Office of Civil Protection in Liguria to ‘intervene and evaluate the situation’.
A team of geologists is now monitoring the situation to determine if there is danger of another landslide.
“This type of collapse that happened today is very hard to detect or to predict,” Olivari was quoted as saying.
Giampedrone said the port authority of Genoa blocked the coastal area below the cemetery Monday night to keep the coffins from floating out to sea.
On Tuesday after surveying the site, officials said they will continue work on recovering the coffins and corpses.