Genoa Bridge Collapse: Death Toll Rises As Rescuers Continue Search

Genoa Bridge Collapse: Death Toll Rises As Rescuers Continue Search

"We're now at 38 confirmed deaths and some people missing", Salvini, who is also Interior Minister, told reporters on the sidelines of an event in the southern region of Calabria. Huge slabs of reinforced concrete plunged onto two warehouses, train tracks and a riverbed. Prime minister Giuseppe Conte was planning Tuesday to visit Genoa, and French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter that "France stands by Italy" and "is ready to provide all necessary support".

The collapse, which saw a vast stretch of the A10 freeway tumble onto railway lines in the northern port city, came as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work, and the country's deputy transport minister warned the death toll could climb further.

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

Italian firefighters carried out a dramatic rescue on Tuesday (August 14) retrieving a person who had been caught in the mangled ruins of his auto suspended in the air after the collapse of motorway bridge.

He said there was "no reason to consider the bridge was unsafe". Italy's ANSA news agency reported that some 35 probably were killed, citing fire brigade sources.

"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.

The Italian CNR civil engineering society said that structures dating from when the Morandi Bridge was built had surpassed their lifespan.

In a 2016 interview posted online, Antonio Brencich, a University of Genoa professor specialising in reinforced concrete construction, said: "This bridge is usually characterised as a masterpiece of engineering, but in reality it is a failure of engineering".

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The design of the elevated road had been criticised in the past.

"That bridge is wrong. But there will be a time when the cost of maintenance will be higher than a replacement", he told Italian media Primocanale. Sooner or later it will have to be replaced.

Borrelli said highway engineers were checking other parts of the bridge and that some areas were evacuated as a precaution.

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

"I was driving along the bridge, and at a certain point I saw the road in front of me collapse, and I went down with the vehicle", he told local media.

A 2011 report by Italian highways company Autostrade per l'Italia said that the bridge had been suffering from degradation.

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. The collapse appears not to have killed anyone under the road, but only those who were driving on it, the civil protection agency said earlier.

It was the second deadly disaster on an Italian highway in as many weeks.

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