At least 35 killed in bridge collapse in north Italy

Reuters
At least 35 people were killed when a motorway bridge collapsed in torrential rains yesterday morning over buildings in the northern Italian port city of Genoa.
Reuters

At least 35 people were killed when a motorway bridge collapsed in torrential rains yesterday morning over buildings in the northern Italian port city of Genoa, Italy’s ANSA news agency cited fire brigade sources as saying.

A 50-meter-high section of the bridge, including one set of the supports that tower above it, crashed down in the rain onto the roof of a factory and other buildings, crushing vehicles below and plunging huge slabs of reinforced concrete into the nearby riverbed.

“People living in Genoa use this bridge twice a day, we can’t live with infrastructures built in the 1950s and 1960s,” Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi said on SkyNews24, speaking from Genoa.

Within hours of the disaster, the anti-establishment government which took office in June said it showed Italy needed to spend more to improve its dilapidated infrastructure, ignoring European Union budget constraints if necessary.

“We should ask ourselves whether respecting these (budget) limits is more important than the safety of Italian citizens. Obviously for me it is not,” said Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the right-wing League which governs with the 5-Star Movement.

Helicopter footage on social media showed trucks and cars stranded on either side of the 80m-long collapsed section of the Morandi Bridge, built on the A10 toll motorway in the late 1960s. One truck was shown just meters away from the broken end of the bridge.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said the disaster pointed to a lack of maintenance, adding: “Those responsible will have to pay.”

But Stefano Marigliani, the motorway operator Autostrade’s official responsible for the Genoa area, said the bridge was “constantly monitored and supervised well beyond what the law required.”

Restructuring work was carried out in 2016 on the 1.2-kilometer-long bridge, first completed in 1967. The motorway is a major artery to the Italian Riviera and to France’s southern coast.

Head of the civil protection agency, Angelo Borrelli, said there were 30 to 35 vehicles on the bridge when the middle section came down, including three lorries. He said 13 people had been hospitalized, including five in a critical condition.

Some 200 firefighters were on the scene, the fire service said.


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