At least six people are believed to have died after a strong 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy near the town of Norcia, officials told state broadcaster RAI on Wednesday.

The mayor of the central Italian town of Accumoli said a number of buildings had been badly damaged by the 6.2 magnitude quake.

Source: Twitter/@BBCBreaking

 

"Four people are under the rubble, but they are not showing any sign of life. Two parents and two children," mayor Stefano Petrucci told RAI television.

RAI quoted local police as saying two people were known to have died in the nearby village of Pescara del Tronto.

The earthquake struck at 3.36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across wide swaths of Italy.

There were no immediate reports of damage, but state-run RAI radio said people ran into the streets in central Umbria and Le Marche regions shortly after the quake struck.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Center put the magnitude at 6.1 and said the epicenter was northeast of Rome, near Rieti. 

Representational image/ Source: Reuters

 

The US Geological Survey put the magnitude at 6.2. It was felt in central Rome, as people in homes in the city's historic center felt a long swaying.

The USGS initially reported the magnitude of the quake at 6.4, saying it was very shallow, only 6.2 miles (10 km) deep.

"It was the worst (quake) of my life" said Matteo Berlenga after leaving his house near Gubbio in the central Italian region of Umbria when the earthquake struck.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's spokesman said on Twitter that the government was in touch with the country's civil protection agency.

(Feature image source: Twitter/@ABC)