Saturday, 25 May, 2019

Search for survivors after Italian motorway collapse kills at least 26

Vehicles on the bridge plummeted as far as 90 metres. Authorities say at least 35 people have been killed with the Search for survivors after Italian motorway collapse kills at least 26
Patty Aguilar | 15 August, 2018, 08:51

Firefighters inspect a crushed auto at the Morandi Bridge site in the port city of Genoa, Italy August 14, 2018.

Rescuers work to recover injured people after the Morandi highway bridge collapsed in Genoa, northern Italy.

The Italian fire service said that the bridge, located in an industrial area in the west of the city, collapsed at around noon (1000 GMT).

He said there had been no indication that the bridge was unsafe.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte called it "an enormous tragedy. inconceivable in a modern system like ours, a modern country".

Di Mackey, a New Zealander living in Genoa says the community is in shock following the collapse of the bridge.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli called the incident "unacceptable" and said "whoever made a mistake must pay" if negligence is found to be a factor in the collapse.

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

Authorities said at least 30 cars and three heavy duty vehicles were on the 80-metre section of the bridge that collapsed.

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"I tried to do a Facebook post afterwards and ended up all teary because, I mean everybody knows somebody, and when something hits Genoa.We had a ship crash into a building a few years ago, the whole city is just incredibly affected".

It was unclear what had caused the collapse, but the event raised questions among some Italian government officials about maintenance of their country's infrastructure - a common concern in developed countries, where numerous major roadways were built decades ago. Updating and reinforcing the bridges would be more expensive than destroying and rebuilding them with technology that could last a century.

The design of the elevated road had been criticised in the past. Antonio Brencich, a professor specializing in reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa, called the span "a failure of engineering" in an interview in 2016. Sooner or later it will have to be replaced.

Other engineers said corrosion or weather conditions could have contributed.

"We are still trying to extract survivors from the rubble", Genoa police official Alessandra Bucci said.

Firefighters climbed across the unstable debris before using an angle grinder to cut through the wires and eventually drag out a victim who was trapped for hours after the bridge collapsed.

Autostrade said work to shore up the road foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse.

The bridge collapse took place during one of Italy's busiest periods for holiday traffic, when families abandon cities en masse and head for the beach, including to small towns to the east and west of Genoa overlooking the Ligurian Sea. But he added that they were about to launch a 20 million euro ($22.7 million) bidding process for significant safety work on the bridge.

It was the second deadly disaster on an Italian highway in as many weeks. The accident killed one person, injured dozens and blew apart a section of a raised eight-lane highway.

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