Published: Wed, August 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Search for survivors after Italian motorway collapse kills 26

Search for survivors after Italian motorway collapse kills 26

A former Italian footballer had a miraculous escape when his vehicle wedged in rubble after plunging off a collapsed bridge in Genoa.

Far-right leader Salvini, who is also co-deputy prime minister, said he was in "absolute agreement" with Toninelli.

At least 35 people were killed when a bridge collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa, police said on Wednesday after firemen worked through the night looking for any survivors buried under the rubble. "We're not giving up hope, we've already saved a dozen people from under the rubble", a fire official, Emanuele Giffi, told AFP. Twelve people are said to be missing.

The family was heading to lunch with grandparents when the bridge, which spans a broad valley of apartment blocks, warehouses and railway lines, collapsed.

Normally, a bridge is created to last for at least 100 years.

But the risks presented by the Morandi bridge, built between 1963 and 1967, had always been clear.

"There was no reason to consider the bridge unsafe".

"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.

Autostrade, a unit of Atlantia, said work to shore up its foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse.

He added that a safety audit will be carried out on ageing bridges and tunnels across the country.

"Suddenly the bridge came down with everything it was carrying".

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Some experts have suggested that the ongoing maintenance work may have been a factor in the collapse.

"Maintenance work is often about dealing with and preventing degradation, and the strengthening work the bridge had recently received may have been to deal with degradation".

A 50m high section of the Morandi bridge, including a tower that anchored several stays, crashed down with as many as 35 vehicles driving on it on Tuesday.

Those problems were later corrected, he said.

Two employees of a waste management company, who were working in the valley beneath the bridge when it collapsed, were also killed.

It was designed by Riccardo Morandi and completed in 1967, but restructuring work was done in 2016.

"He was an engineer with great insight, but lacking in practical calculations".

However, locals say that the bridge has had problems for years, and that it was often attended to by repair crews, but the fixes were never long-lasting, and many in Genoa had petitioned the authorities to replace it.

Stefano Marigliani, the Autostrade official responsible for the Genoa area, told Reuters: "The collapse was unexpected and unpredictable". The motorway it carries is a major artery from northern Italy's industrial centres to the Italian Riviera and to France's southern coast.

The "queues of cars and the volume of traffic provoke intense degradation of the bridge structure on a daily basis in rush hour, as it is subject to major demands", the report, quoted by Italian news agency Ansa, said.

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