Search for survivors after Italian motorway collapse kills 26

Fredrick Soto
August 15, 2018

French firefighter Patrick Villardry, who came from Nice to help the rescue effort, said: "We have to search under the wreckage of buildings, but there are thousands of tons of concrete".

Some 300 firefighters from across Italy have been using sniffer dogs and climbing gear in the search.

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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.

The motorway operator said work to shore up the bridge's foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse, during which time it was being constantly monitored. It said that simply updating or reinforcing the bridges would be more expensive than destroying and rebuilding them with new technology.

Lending support to the website was Antonio Brencich, a professor of reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa, highlighting the constant maintenance the bridge needed.

Teams with dogs are aiding search and rescue operations, but rescuers are not hearing or seeing any signs of life, he said, adding the situation around the bridge site is still unsafe. "Oh, God!" Other images showed a green truck that had stopped just short of the edge and the tires of a tractor trailer in the rubble.

"I heard a noise and saw that the road was collapsing and it scared me a lot", the 33-year-old revealed afterwards.

A former Italian footballer has spoken of the "apocalypse" he witnessed after he had a lucky escape.

"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.

It was unclear what had caused the collapse, but the event raised questions among some Italian government officials about maintenance of their country's infrastructure - a common concern in developed countries, where numerous major roadways were built decades ago.

Vehicles on the bridge plummeted as far as 90 metres.

Salvini, who is co-deputy prime minister and leader of the nationalist League party in the new coalition government, vowed to hold those responsible for the disaster accountable.

But the risks presented by the Morandi bridge, built between 1963 and 1967, had always been clear.

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.

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.

Its rugged terrain means that motorways that run through the city and the surrounding area are characterised by long viaducts and tunnels. This bridge was completed in 1967.

"There was no reason to consider the bridge risky".

Last March a couple died when a motorway flyover collapsed near Ancona.

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