Death toll rises to 35 in Italy bridge collapse

15 August, 2018, 15:29 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • A general view of rescuers at the scene of the collapsed Morandi motorway bridge in the northwestern city of Genoa

The incident is the deadliest of its kind in Europe since 2001 and the latest in a string of bridge collapses in Italy.

One entire family died in the accident, Sciuto added. On a normal day, the death toll may have been even higher.

Italian rescuers searched through the night Wednesday for any survivors under the shattered remains of the bridge.

About 400 rescue workers remain at the scene, working in a unsafe environment in an attempt to find more survivors, Gissi said.

However the bridge's condition, and its ability to sustain large increases in both the intensity and weight of traffic over the years, have been a focus of public debate since Tuesday's collapse, when an 80-metre span gave way at lunchtime as cars packed with holidaymakers as well as trucks streamed across it.

Other images showed a green truck that had stopped just metres short of the gaping hole in the bridge.

A pensioner died in October 2016 when his vehicle was crushed by a collapsing bridge over a dual carriageway between Milan and Lecco. Rescuers had hoped that their child had survived but when they retrieved the body it was limp.

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.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and key members of his cabinet are in Genoa to hold meetings and monitor rescue operations.

The 1.2 km-long bridge was completed in 1967 and overhauled in 2016.

Maintenance was "underway to consolidate it", the company in charge of Italian highways, Autostrade, said in a statement on Tuesday.

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13 people were injured in the tragic collapse.

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The bridge is a main thoroughfare connecting the A10 highway that goes toward France and the A7 highway that continues north toward Milan. Buildings under the bridge were damaged in the collapse and there is concern that the rest of the bridge could fall, he said.

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

"Some maintenance intervention appears to have been going on at the time, but we don't know the details so it is not possible to say whether this could have been a factor [in the collapse]", he said.

"There are buildings that have been hit but it seems that all the victims were on the bridge".

Poorly carried out maintenance can sometimes be a factor in a bridge collapse.

Anil Agrawal, Professor of Civil Engineering at the City College of NY told CNN that if there is corrosion in the concrete, water can cause a void, further corroding the cables.

"They will have to pay, pay for everything, and pay a lot", he said. "If you lose any cable you have a catastrophe in the making".

"It was affected by serious corrosion problems related to the technology that Morandi himself had patented, which he had not used anymore, and which proved to be disastrous", Brencich told Italian daily La Repubblica.

Engineers are now warning that much of Italy's post-War infrastructure, built using similar techniques to that employed in the construction of the Morandi bridge, is in urgent need of renovation.

Atlantia shares closed down more than 5%.

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