The Camogli Cemetery, built more than 100 years ago, is located in an area of rocky cliffs by the sea. Francesco Olivari, mayor of Camogli, called the collapse an “unimaginable catastrophe.”
An estimated 200 coffins had fallen, but only 10 have been recovered, according to Giacomo Giampedrone, regional civil protection adviser. Recovering the rest of them “will depend on the sea in the coming days,” he added.
On Saturday, maintenance that was being carried out along the fragile shoreline area came to an abrupt halt when workers noticed cracks in the rock.
“We were working on a part of the rocky shoreline, it was close to the area that fell today,” Olivari told CNN on Monday. “Some signs of cracks were seen. We decided to close the cemetery.”
He said officials from the Civil Protection Office in Liguria were called in to intervene and assess the situation. A team of geologists from the department is using drones to get a better idea of the damage and determine if there is a danger of another landslide.
“This type of collapse that occurred today is very difficult to detect or predict,” Olivari said. “This area is subject to this type of collapse, it is very fragile.”
Giampedrone said the Genoa port authority blocked the coastal area below the cemetery on Monday night to prevent the coffins from floating in the sea.
On Tuesday, after inspecting the site, officials said they will continue to work to recover the coffins and bodies.