THIS is the dramatic moment a landslide sent 200 coffins crashing into the sea.
Workmen leapt for the lives seconds before the sea-facing cemetery crumbled, sending concrete and debris crashing down into the water.
Today diving crews and firefighters spent the day pulling the coffins from the water in macabre scenes while shocked onlookers watched.
Currents have started to wash some of the coffins onto the beach and several had burst open as they hit the water.
The incident happened at the picturesque town of Camogli near Genoa on Italian’s Riviera coast – a town popular with Brit holidaymakers for its stunning coastal walks.
Workmen had been called to the cemetery after locals reported hearing the earth ”groaning and cracking” and they were carrying out checks as the land gave way.
‘IT’S ALL GOING’
The footage shows one man leaping to safety just as the graves give way and plunge 200 metres into the Mediterranean.
His colleague is heard on the phone telling an official: ”It’s all going. The corner by the wall is going.
”The seagulls can sense what is going to happen – they are flying away.”
As one chapel containing coffins starts to collapse the workman is heard swearing and adding: ”Mama mia” before leaping away.
Officials said there were no injuries but council employees at the scene were treated for shock.
The area has been subject to coastal erosion for years and a project to shore up the cliff face had begun in 2018.
Tearful local Serena Bertolucci said: ”Several members of my family are buried in that part of the cemetery and it looks as if their coffins have ended up in the sea.
”It is very distressing to see coffins floating in the sea – we need a clear plan for the local council as to what they are going to do.”
Civil protection chief Giacomo Giampedrone said: ”Our main priority is to recover the coffins in the sea and make sure the area is safe and secure.
”We are working with the local firefighter diving team and the council to recover the coffins as quickly as possible.”
Geology professor Francesco Faccini said: “That area has been unstable for the last 200 years but with proper planning the landslip could have been avoided.”
Last night firefighters had recovered ten bodies from the sea and five had been positively identified while checks were being mad on the others.
Mayor Francesco Olivari said: ”We have received dozens of calls from people asking about their loved one and we are doing as best we can to identify those coffins and ashes that fell into the sea.
”We have recovered some from the water and have been able to identify them and we will work through the others recovered. If necessary we will do DNA tests to establish identity.
”We have also brought in a team of psychologists to provide support to those who have been affected by this tragedy.”
Yesterday angry locals gathered outside Camogli town hall with many saying they had been complaining for years about the unstable state of the cemetery.
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Among them was the retired custodian of the cemetery Gianluigi Garibotti who said: ”We knew all about this 30 years ago and kept telling the council the land and foundations were unstable because of the erosion.
”They just carried out minor repairs, making do, filling the cracks here and there but nothing proper was done and this is what has happened.
“I couldn’t sleep last night when I heard about it – all those poor people who have lost their loved ones.”