Bungling ‘robber’ has to be rescued after he was buried underground in a collapsed tunnel while his gang was trying to burrow 20ft into a bank in Rome
- The rescue operation took eight hours after the tunnel near Vatican City collapsed
- Emergency services gave the man liquid food and an oxygen cylinder to help him breathe
- He was taken out of the tunnel alive on a stretcher with critical injuries to hospital
- It is believed the man and his four accomplices dug the tunnel to get to a bank vault nearby
A suspected robber had to be rescued after he was buried underground in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican while his gang was trying to burrow 20ft into a bank.
The man was freed after eight hours, with firefighters digging him out from under Via Innocenzo XI in Rome after the asphalt gave way.
It is believed that the man and his four accomplices were preparing to rob a bank vault nearby and dug the tunnel, which began near an empty shop, to reach it.
According to Italian media, one of his four alleged accomplices, who managed to escape the collapsed tunnel, alerted emergency services-and firefighters then heard a voice from under the rubble.
Rescuers using mechanical diggers then dug a parallel hole to free the man during the long recovery operation while he cried out, ‘Help, I beg you to get me out’.
He was given liquid food and an oxygen cylinder to help him breathe, eventually pulled out alive, while a large crowd cheered.
The man was then taken to hospital, where he remains, with critical, but non life-threatening injuries.
The man was rescued in an operation that took eight hours. He was given liquid food and an oxygen cylinder to help him breathe, eventually pulled out alive, pictured,
Rescuers, pictured, dug a parallel hole to free the man during the long recovery operation while he cried out, ‘Help, I beg you to get me out’
The man was then taken to hospital with critical, but non life-threatening injuries. Pictured: The large rescue operation to free the man
Pictured: A map showing the location of the tunnel in the centre of Rome, near Vatican City. It began near a shuttered shop
Residents watched on as the rescue happened. One resident said that they had no suspicion anyone was digging a hole and there were no noises either. Pictured: The team working to rescue the man
Behind the police cordon and the digger was a huge watching crowd who followed the rescue until it was completed, pictured
A resident called Michelle who lives in the same building said: ‘We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So, we had no suspicion and we did not hear noises either.’
A police spokesman said that two people from Naples and two from Rome had been arrested for resisting a public official and damage to public property.
They added: ‘We are still investigating. We do not exclude that they are thieves; it is one of the theories.’
A digger and tent is seen in Rome as the rescue operation to get the man out unfolded (pictured). Police have not ruled out the fact that the hole could have been dug to carry out a robbery
Pictured: The tunnel which the suspected bank robber was rescued from. It began underneath an empty shop which was shuttered and said to have been recently rented
A large group of emergency services gathered to help with the rescue effort, pictured. Those suspected to be in the gang were arrested
An oxygen cylinder, which was used along with liquid food for the man is seen as firefighters worked to get him out of the tunnel, pictured
Although police have not confirmed the men were digging for a robbery, Italian media have reported that it is likely that the men were. This is because Ferrogosto is coming up in Italy, where many leave the city. They believe the men were taking advantage of the empty city to do the robbery. Pictured: The scene in Rome
But Italian media has noted that the tunnel was found ahead of the August 15 long weekend when Rome is empty as residents traditionally leave town for Ferragosto and reported that the hole was likely dug for a bank robbery.
Corriere della Sera daily wrote: ‘The hole gang’ while La Stampa said: ‘They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.’
And police told local media that the man had previous robbery convictions, along with the four other gang members.
The suspected would-be bank robbers all have previous convictions for robbery. Pictured: The equipment used for the rescue including diggers and ropes
The man’s accomplices escaped the collapsed tunnel but he was stuck and had to be freed. Pictured: The swathe of police and emergency services in Rome
Diggers were used as part of the complex operation to free the man. A huge pile of earth is seen next to the emergency services, pictured