More than 35 killed as highway bridge collapses during fierce storm in Genoa, Italy

More than 35 killed as highway bridge collapses during fierce storm in Genoa, Italy

At least 35 people have been killed and dozens more are feared dead as a huge section of highway bridge collapsed in Italian port city of Genoa during an intense storm on August 14, 2018. The disaster occurred around 09:30 UTC on a highway that connects Italy to France and other vacation resorts on the eve Ferragosto, a major Italian holiday.

Up to 35 cars and a few heavy-duty trucks along with tonnes of twisted steel and concrete fell down some 90 m (300 feet) into a river and railroad tracks after a 183 m (600 feet) long section of Morandi bridge collapsed.

Eyewitnesses said they saw the bridge being struck by a lightning and 'wobbling' before it collapsed. 

The central pillar crumbled first and then everything else came down, one witness said.

"I saw people running towards me, barefoot and terrified. I heard a roar. People ran away coming towards me. It was horrible," Alberto Lercari, a bus driver, told Corriere della Sera.

More than 240 fire brigade units and rescue teams are searching for survivors but are now fearful of explosions from damaged gas lines.

This is just the latest in a string of bridge collapses in Italy, local media said.

The exact cause of the collapse is not yet clear but Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said it showed the dilapidated state of the country's infrastructure and a lack of maintenance, adding that 'those responsible will have to pay.'

The bridge was built on the A10 highway in northwestern Italy in 1967. The highway operator said that restructuring work was carried out in 2016 and that work to shore up the foundation of the bridge was being carried out at the time of the collapse.

Update:

August 18

The death toll rose to 43, authorities said today.


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Featured image credit: Reuters

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