Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse

Canadian train travellers narrowly avoid deadly Italian bridge collapseMore Canadian train travellers narrowly avoid deadly Italian bridge collapseMore
Cristina Norman | 15 August, 2018, 15:28

Rescuers are continuing to look for survivors after a motorway bridge collapsed in the Italian city of Genoa on Tuesday. That brings to 15 the number of injured.

TRT World's Arabella Munro reports.

As cranes moved in to shift truck-sized chunks of broken concrete, hundreds of firefighters searched for survivors, while public shock and grief turned to anger over the state of the 1.2 km-long bridge, completed in 1967 and overhauled two years ago.

Speaking to journalists as he visited the site, Conte warned the death toll might rise in the northern Italian port city of Genoa.

Italy defender Domenico Criscito, now a Genoa player, also spoke after the disaster, revealing that he had been driving on the bridge a mere 10 minutes before it fell.

He said the hypothesis for the collapse was a structural failure.

A picture taken on 14 August 2018 in Genoa shows a view of the Ponte Morandi motorway bridge after one of its section collapsed injuring several people.

The disaster occurred on a highway that connects Italy to France and other vacation resorts on the eve of a major Italian holiday on Wednesday, Ferragosto, and traffic would have been heavier than usual as many Italians travelled to beaches or mountains.

"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 auto", Davide Capello told TV news channel Sky TG24.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli told Italian state television the disaster pointed to a lack of maintenance, and echoing Mr. Salvini, he said that "those responsible will have to pay".

Atlantia and Autostrade did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"I have given mandate to my ministry to start all proceedings to apply the agreement, that is to revoke the concession from these companies and seek significant sanctions which can reach up to €150 million (S$230 million) based on the terms of the contract".

An 80-metre section of the bridge, including one set of the supports that tower above it, crashed down onto the roof of a factory and other buildings, crushing at least one truck and plunging huge slabs of concrete into the river below.

"The first thing that should happen is that the heads of Autostrade per l'Italia should step down".

The man, who has not been named, told rescuers: "I saw the the road collapsing in front of me, with all the cars that were in front of me".

Notwithstanding the importance of a road that sees 25 million vehicles pass along it every year, the demolition of the bridge was being studied as far back as 2009.

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

A section measuring about 200 m fell at around 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT). The motorway is a major artery to the Italian Riviera and to France's southern coast.

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.

More than 400 people were evacuated from buildings near or below the still-standing section of the bridge.

Colin Caprani, senior lecturer in Structural Engineering at Monash University in Melbourne, said bridges "are not set-and-forget pieces of infrastructure", arguing that as the structures age, collapses like the Morandi bridge are likely to become more common occurrences.

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