SOMMATI, Italy (AP) — Most of the victims of this week’s earthquake were Italians, but among the dead were also one Spaniard, eight Romanians as well as three British citizens who were killed in the devastated hamlet Sommati near hard-hit Amatrice.
Will Henniker-Gotley, 55, and his wife, Maria, 51, owned a vacation home in Sommati, with a rose garden, a hammock and a pool. On Friday the mailbox bearing their name stood, as did the front of their elegant two-story cream-colored villa, but the entire back was a pile of rubble.
“It seems that there are no more people left under the rubble so we are proceeding with the second phase, trying to get in to get personal belongings, documents, medicines — things of daily necessity,” for Sommati’s residents who survived, said Daniele Fedrigo, a firefighter working Friday in the hamlet.
The U.K’s foreign office confirmed their deaths and that of a 14-year-old British boy, Marcos Burnett. The authorities didn’t give any more details about Marcos, but British media reported he and his family had stayed with the Henniker-Gotleys.
Spain’s Foreign Ministry said that at least one Spaniard died in the quake while Romania’s government confirmed eight dead. Bucharest authorities suggested the Romanian toll could rise sharply, counting 19 Romanians missing who are believed to have been in the area.
The bodies of Aurelia Dogaru, 36, a Romanian health worker, and her husband, Fabio Graziani, an Italian engineer with an expertise in disaster prevention, were pulled from the rubble of Amatrice. They left behind a 9-year-old son who survived.
“They were a lovely, peaceful family,” said the boy’s aunt, Florica Dogaru, adding that the family lived in Rome but had gone to Amatrice for its yearly food festival.
“She should have come home (to Romania) after that,” Dogaru told The Associated Press in Romania, breaking down in tears.
Another Romanian fatality was an 11-year-old boy whose body was pulled from rubble Thursday evening in Amatrice, according to Romanian Orthodox church authorities in Italy.
Also killed was Maria Iosub, 39, who fled the poverty of her native village of Avrameni 15 years ago and worked at a restaurant in Amatrice.
“Life’s vicissitudes pushed her away. None of us are happy. It’s a tragedy,” Mihael Prodan, an employee at Avrameni local town hall, told the AP.
The large number of Romanians among the victims reflects the strong presence they have established in Italy since 2007, when Romania joined the European Union, giving them freedom to work across the bloc.
Last year there were an estimated 1.3 million Romanians living in Italy, many working in agriculture, as domestic helpers or caretakers for the elderly. They are drawn by higher wages than they could earn back home and the linguistic similarities between Romanian and Italian, both Latin languages.