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Death toll from Italy earthquake nears 250 as crews continue rescue efforts

As crews continue to search for survivors from the earthquake that rocked central Italy Wednesday, officials say the death toll has risen to nearly 250 people and many missing.

Media outlets and Italy’s Civil Protection Department continue to revise the number of people who have been killed in the quake, with the Italian agency saying Thursday the preliminary death toll is estimated at 241, according to The Associated Press and Reuters.

Italian news outlet ANSA is reporting 264 people are hospitalized, and officials don’t have an estimate for how many people may be missing because the region was filled with vacationers.

The 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit about 85 miles east of Rome early Wednesday, which flattened several historic Italian towns in central Italy. Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto and Pescara del Tronto are being reported as the most heavily damaged.

At least 470 aftershocks have been reported in the area since the initial quake, the AP says. Several trembles were felt Thursday morning, including two that registered 5.1 and 5.4 magnitudes, Reuters says.

The Civil Protection Department says roughly 5,000 people are involved in operations following the quake. And Reuters is reporting a 10-year-old girl was pulled alive from the rubble after 15 hours.

Officials haven’t said when their efforts will switch from rescue to recovery, noting people were still found alive up to 72 hours after a 6.3-magnitude quake in April 2009 rocked a nearby region, Reuters reports.

Nearly 300 people were killed and 1,000 injured in that earthquake, and officials say the death toll from Wednesday’s quake could rival that.

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