Camogli Cemetery, built more than 100 years ago, is located along cliffs on the seashore. Francesco Olivari, mayor of Camogli, described the collapse as an “unimaginable disaster”.
It is estimated that 200 coffins have fallen, but only 10 have been found, according to Giacomo Giambedron, Regional Civil Protection Resident. He added that recovering what was left of it “will depend on the sea in the coming days.”
On Saturday, maintenance work along the fragile coastline was abruptly stopped when workers noticed cracks in the rock.
“We were doing work in a part of the rocky coast – 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 they had called in officials from the Ligurian Civil Protection office to intervene and assess the situation. A team of geologists in the department are using drones to better identify the damage and determine if there is a risk of another landslide.
“The kind of meltdown that happened today is very difficult to detect or predict,” Olivari said. “This area is vulnerable to this kind of collapse – it’s very fragile.”
Giampron said the Genoa Port Authority sealed off the coastal area below the cemetery on Monday night to prevent the coffins from floating in the sea.
On Tuesday, after clearing the site, officials said they would continue to work on retrieving coffins and bodies.