An overhead view of Amatrice after a powerful earthquake in central Italy on Aug. 24, 2016.
Gregorio Borgia—AP
By Andrew Katz
Updated: August 24, 2016 3:59 PM ET

An earthquake with an initial magnitude of 6.2 and a series of powerful aftershocks rocked central Italy early on Wednesday, leaving at least 120 people dead and several small towns in ruins.

Amatrice, near the quake’s epicenter, was one of the hardest hit. An aerial picture over a historic part of town showed a significant portion had been razed. The mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, told the Associated Press “the town isn’t here anymore.”

The picture was taken by Gregorio Borgia, a photographer who started with AP in 2000. In an email, Borgia said he headed into the news organization’s Rome bureau shortly after the quake to coordinate with colleagues and then fan out over the areas with severe damage. He was assigned to fly over Amatrice in a helicopter.

“Everything was collapsed except for [a] few buildings, the more modern [ones],” he said. “Everything else was covered by [the] gray powder of debris.” From an altitude that wouldn’t interfere with rescue helicopters, he said the rescue workers seemed so small amid such destruction. Later in the day, he moved to another area, Pescara del Tronto, that was devastated by the earthquake.

Throughout the day, civilians and rescue workers continued to search the rubble for survivors.

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