A four-year-old girl is alive today due to the selfless actions of her older sister, who threw herself on top of her when a devastating earthquake hit their town.
The two girls were found buried by debris in Pescara del Tronto, following the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that hit central Italy this week.
“Giulia died saving her sister. She lay on top of her," the girls’ great-grandmother Angela Cafini told The Daily Mail.
“That is the only reason she is alive. I am told she has no injuries and that is the only explanation for that," she said.The earthquake death toll has so far reached 250, with some still being pulled out alive from the rubble.
Central Italy was struck by the quake in the early hours of Wednesday, with several villages being completely wiped from the map. Pescara del Tronto was one such place, which has been left a heap of rubble following the quake.
Officials at the scene fear the death toll may creep up to 500, as they continue the painstaking work of digging through the crumbled buildings.
Rescue teams are still hopeful they will find other survivors however, despite the horrific scenes. The villages of Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto and Pescara del Tronto were those worst effected.
Volunteer Christian Bianchetti said: "Unfortuantely, 90 per cent we pull out are dead, but some make it, that's why we are here."
The Venice Film Festival, which begins next week, has cancelled the opening night festivities in respect of the dead.
Italy is close to the fault line between two of the Earth's major tectonic plates - the Eurasian and African plates - making it prone to quakes. Major volcanoes including Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius all lie close to this fault.