A powerful earthquake has hit central Italy, bringing down buildings and trapping people under the rubble. Several aftershocks were also detected after the first quake struck at about 3.30am local time (2.30am BST).

According to the USGS, the 6.2 magnitude earthquake was shallow at a depth of 10km. Several buildings are reported to have collapsed in the towns of Accumoli and Amatrice. At least six people have been killed, according to Sky News.

"Look there are houses that aren't here anymore. I hope we get some help." Mayor of Amatrice, Sergio Pirozzi, told state-run RAI radio and Sky TG24. He added: "The roads in and out of town are cut off. Half the town is gone. There are people under the rubble... There's been a landslide and a bridge might collapse."

Tremors were also felt in Rome for up to 20 seconds. The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the magnitude of the quake at 6.1, while Italy's civil protection agency described it as "severe".

"It was so strong. It seemed the bed was walking across the room by itself with us on it," Lina Mercantini of Ceselli from Umbria told Reuters.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's official Twitter account said the government is in touch with local authorities monitoring the situation.

Italy was hit by a deadly quake with a magnitude of 6.3 in 2009, which killed as many as 300 people.

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