Camogli Cemetery, built over 100 years ago, is located along an area of rocky cliffs by the sea. Francesco Olivari, the mayor of Camogli, called the collapse “an unimaginable disaster”.
An estimated 200 coffins have fallen, but only 10 have been recovered, according to Giacomo Giampedrone, regional civil protection assessor. The recovery of the others “will depend on the sea in the days to come”, he added.
On Saturday, maintenance work being carried out along the fragile coast area was abruptly halted when workers noticed cracks in the rock.
“We were working on part of the rocky shore – it was close to the area that fell today,” Olivari told CNN on Monday. “Some signs of cracks have been observed. We have decided to close the cemetery.”
He said they had called officials from the Civil Protection Bureau in Liguria to intervene and assess the situation. A team of geologists from the department are using drones to get a better idea of the damage and determine if there is a risk of another landslide.
“This type of collapse that has happened today is very difficult to detect or predict,” Olivari said. “This area is prone to this type of collapse – it is very fragile.”
Giampedrone said the Port Authority of Genoa blocked off the coastal area under the cemetery on Monday evening to prevent the coffins from floating towards the sea.
On Tuesday, after inspecting the site, officials said they would continue to work on the recovery of the coffins and corpses.