Italian footballer in remarkable escape from Genoa bridge collapse describes 'apocalypse' scene

Sean Reid
August 15, 2018

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said some 200 fire fighters are responding to the accident.

The incident is the deadliest of its kind in Europe since 2001 and the latest in a string of bridge collapses in Italy.

Some 440 people were evacuated from buildings near by.

He said there was "no reason to consider the bridge was unsafe".

A fire service spokesperson told AFP that the bridge had mostly fallen on rail tracks 100 metres below and that cars and trucks had fallen with the rubble.

He also the government would inspect the structure of ageing bridges and tunnels across the country with a view to launching a programme of remedial works if required.

Morandi had used a similar technique for other works, including the longer and similarly problematic General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge in Venezuela, completed in 1962.

Rescuers inspect the rubble and wreckages by the Morandi motorway bridge after a section collapsed in Genoa.

He said the shockwave sent him flying into a wall, injuring his right shoulder and hip.

Within hours of the disaster on a morning of torrential rain, the anti-establishment government that took office in June said the bridge collapse 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 limits is more important than the safety of Italian citizens", he said.

The statement goes on to say that "a bridge-crane was installed to allow maintenance works to be carried out" adding that, "the work and status of the viaduct were subject to constant observation and supervision" by their Genoa division.

"We're now at 38 confirmed deaths and some people missing", Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told reporters on the sidelines of an event in the southern region of Calabria.

While that remained the official death toll, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said from Genoa on August 14 evening that the number would rise.

The Italy built in the 1950s and 1960s is in urgent need of renovation.

"These kind of tragedies can not and should not happen in a civil country", Italy's transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, told the Italian TV channel TG1.

"In the sad history of bridge collapses, maintenance has sometimes been a factor, if it is poorly planned or implemented".

Autostrade said the bridge maintenance programme had been based on the results of its regular checks and had also been approved by the transport ministry. Buildings under the bridge were damaged in the collapse and there is concern that the rest of the bridge could fall, he said. One expert in such construction, Antonio Brencich at the University of Genoa, had previously called the bridge "a failure of engineering". "But there will be a time when the cost of maintenance will be higher than a replacement", he told Italian media Primocanale.

A family of three who were driving to Sardinia for a holiday were reportedly among those killed in a bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy.

Restructuring work on the 1.2 km-long bridge, a major artery to the Italian Riviera and to France's southern coast, was carried out in 2016.

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