Travel Trouble

Tue, 14 Aug, 2018Danielle McCarthy

Fatal bridge collapse in Italy: Race to save survivors

Fatal bridge collapse in Italy: Race to save survivors

Hundreds of emergency rescue workers are in a race against time to find as many survivors as they can after a major highway collapsed in Italy’s city of Genoa.

The incident, which occurred during a violent storm, saw 80 metres of the 50-year-old Morandi bridge collapse, sending vehicles, concrete debris and steel into a nearby river, railroad tracks and industrial zone below.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte revealed that 26 people have been found dead so far and 15 injured, although he fears the death toll will continue to rise.

Mr Conte described the incident as an “immense tragedy”.

Reportedly, unidentified fire brigade sources told Italy’s ANSA news agency that 35 people were confirmed dead.

Mr Conte also thanked the hundreds of rescue workers working in the aftermath, saying “they saved people who fell 45 metres and are now alive and in the hospital”.

Rescue official Emanuele Giffi said: “We’re not giving up hope, we’ve already saved a dozen people from under the rubble.

“We’re going to work round the clock until the last victim is secured.

“There are buildings that have been hit but it seems that all the victims were on the bridge,” Mr Giffi said.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear, although a storm warning had been issued for Tuesday morning.

The national motorways body said on its website that “maintenance works were being carried out on the base of the viaduct”.

Experts say the collapse was likely caused by a construction flaw or long-term wear and tear.

Due to a public holiday on Wednesday, the industrial zone below the highway was luckily almost empty when the incident occurred.

Genoa resident Elizabeth told the BBC: “The state of the bridge always concerned us. Nobody has ever crossed that bridge with a light heart.

“Everybody has always done it praying that the bridge wouldn’t fall down. Today that happened.”

The Morandi Bridge connects the A10 highway that goes toward France and the A7 highway that continues north toward Milan.

The bridge was designed by the engineer Riccardo Morandi, and was built between 1963 and 1967 by the Italian Society for Water Pipelines.