Genoa bridge tragedy: Meet the luckiest truck driver alive

Genoa bridge tragedy: Meet the luckiest truck driver alive

Two more bodies have been pulled out of tonnes of rubble after a bridge collapsed in Genoa, raising the death toll in the disaster to at least 39 people.

Three Chileans, who live in Italy, and four French nationals were also killed.

Search operations are continuing and rescuers have spent the past few nights digging through mountains of crushed concrete.

The tragedy has focused anger on the structural problems that have dogged the decades-old bridge and the private sector firm Autostrade per l'Italia, which is now in charge of operating and maintaining swathes of the country's motorways.

Autostrade, a unit of Milan-listed Atlantia group, said it had done regular, sophisticated checks on the structure before the disaster, relying on "companies and institutions, which are world leaders in testing and inspections" and that these had provided reassuring results.

Agrawal said that if the maintenance operation was something to do with any of the cables, it would have been a sufficient risk to have prompted many agencies in the U.S. to close it during renovation.

The firm, which said the bridge had been undergoing maintenance work, released a statement refuting accusations of underfunding of motorway infrastructure.

"For years, it's been said that private management would be better than that of the state".

An injured eyewitness who walked away from the catastrophe spoke to Ruptly on Tuesday, sharing what he remembers about his lucky escape from the collapse of 50-meter-high section of the Ponte Morandi.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said a "catastrophe" had hit Genoa and the whole of Italy.

Italian authorities from the region of Liguria have raised to 26 the number of dead in the collapse of a highway bridge in the port city of Genoa.

After stopping the vehicle he ran from the bridge.

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Davide Capello, a goalkeeper who used to play for Serie A side Cagliari, went down with the bridge in his auto but was able to emerge from the rubble alive.

The mother of two said the bridge started shaking violently, then the giant A-frame tower in front of her collapsed "like flour".

A truck driver identified only as Idris who was behind that vehicle said it was saved only because of a motorist who tried to pass it moments earlier.

Residents have not been allowed back into their homes and Genoa's mayor Marco Bucci said the buildings may not be protected if the surviving stretch of bridge is torn down.

Building a new bridge could require razing the evacuated buildings, said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli.

Pope Francis sent his condolences to the victims, saying the tragedy has "caused desperation among the population".

The Morandi viaduct, completed in 1967, spans dozens of railway lines as well as an industrial zone and acts as the flyover of the busy A10 motorway, which links the Italian Riviera and the south of France.

One expert, Antonio Brencich at the University of Genoa, had previously called the bridge "a failure of engineering".

That is how an article in the specialist engineering website Ingegneri.info referred to the structure, calling it "a tragedy waiting to happen".

Conte, speaking at a news conference in Genoa, said he made the declaration after a request from regional authorities.

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

Autostrade per l'Italia said Tuesday "stabilization" work was being done on the bridge when it collapsed. "I was never sure of it, you'd always hear these noises whenever lorries were going over".

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