Seagulls are feasting on hundreds of dead bodies after a cemetery collapsed into the sea during a landslide, sending scores of graves into the water.
More than 200 coffins were swept away leaving locals horrified at the sight of loved ones' bodies and wrecked caskets crashing onto the rocks below and being swept out to sea.
The shocking incident took place on Monday, February 22, with Italian officials continuing to fish corpses and coffins out of the water after a landslide caused a part of the Camogli Cemetery to collapse into the sea in a fishing village near the city of Genoa, in Italy's Liguria region.
Two bodies and a part of a coffin were found on the beach in Camogli not far from the landslide and firefighters and rescuers managed to recover some 10 other coffins.
The two corpses that were reportedly in an advanced state of decomposition were recovered by the fire brigade on February 25.
According to news site Fan Page, the cemetery was on a cliff 50 metres (164 ft) high, and when the landslide hit, part of the cemetery collapsed with it.
Two chapels at the Camogli cemetery were also destroyed and prosecutors have opened a probe into the landslip.
The fire brigade, a helicopter, coastal guard boats and a team of divers and nautical specialists attended the scene, and footage shows officials trying to bring as many of the coffins as possible back to land.
Rescuers who reported that the seagulls had been feasting on the bodies say they are also worried about the worsening weather conditions and sea currents carrying corpses to the west.
The investigation into the cause of the accident is continuing and the military is collecting statements from local residents who said they had reported seeing cracks in the cemetery in the past.
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Work also continues on the cliff affected by the collapse as some parts of the cemetery is still in a precarious situation after the incident.
Following the incident, a woman named Pamela told of her grief as she feared her father's ashes were lost in the sea, the Independent reports.
She told a local newspaper: "My legs are shaking, it's like he's dead again."
“I lost my grandmother, I don't even know if we will find her again. And now I try to understand that my father didn't go down too. It's a shame," resident Germana Zoppi added.
Camogli's mayor Francesco Olivari said: “It is an unimaginable catastrophe.
"We'll do our best to identify the bodies using DNA tests.
"We are also planning to create a team to provide psychological support to those people, who are understandably under shock."
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