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Bungling ‘robber’ has to be rescued after he was buried underground in a collapsed tunnel

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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

  • Rescue operation took eight hours after tunnel collapsed near Vatican
  • Man was given liquid food and oxygen cylinder to help him breathe 
  • Was taken out of tunnel alive on stretcher with critical injuries to hospital  
  • Believed that the man and his four accomplices wanted to get to bank vault

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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 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, with firefighters digging him out from under Via Innocenzo XI in Rome after the asphalt gave way. He was given liquid food and an oxygen cylinder to help him breathe, eventually pulled out alive, pictured, while a large crowd cheered

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'

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

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

Pictured: A map showing the location of the tunnel in the centre of Rome, near Vatican City

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)

A digger and tent is seen in Rome as the rescue operation to get the man out unfolded (pictured)

Pictured: The tunnel which the suspected bank robber was rescued from. It began underneath an empty shop

Pictured: The tunnel which the suspected bank robber was rescued from. It began underneath an empty shop 

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 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 man's accomplices escaped the collapsed tunnel. Pictured: The swathe of police and emergency services in Rome

The man’s accomplices escaped the collapsed tunnel. 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

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

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