At least 38 people killed in Genoa bridge collapse, national anger grows

Randal Sanchez
August 15, 2018

Rescuers worked through the night to account for all of the victims of Tuesday's Morandi Bridge disaster in Genoa, as Italy's President called for a "serious and severe examination" into why the bridge suddenly collapsed.

A huge section of the Morandi Bridge fell at midday over an industrial zone, sending tons of twisted steel and concrete onto warehouses below.

Italian politicians, for their part, were trying to find who to blame for the deadly tragedy.

"In the sad history of bridge collapses, maintenance has sometimes been a factor, if it is poorly planned or implemented. Obviously for me, it is not", said Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the right-wing League, which governs with the 5-Star Movement.

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.

Economic news agency Radiocor reports that Italy's motorway agency had recently launched a 20-million-euro tender for work on the viaduct.

"I live nearby and I cross the bridge every day on foot", said Ibou Toure, 23, a translator.

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

The collapse came as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work and as the Liguria region, where Genoa is situated, experienced torrential rainfall.

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

He also the government would inspect the structure of ageing bridges and tunnels across the country with a view to launching a programme of remedial works if required.

The Italy built in the 1950s and 1960s is in urgent need of renovation.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli told Italian state television the disaster showed the dilapidated state of Italy's infrastructure and a lack of maintenance, adding that "those responsible will have to pay".

Autostrade, a unit of the infrastructure group Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, manages the section of the toll highway that collapsed.

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

A large section of the Morandi viaduct upon which the A10 motorway runs collapsed in Genoa, Italy, on August 14, 2018.

Autostrade said it would work with investigators, and that it was already assessing how to rebuild the bridge. "The increasing number of collapses we are seeing in recent years is likely to worsen as deterioration, and inspection and maintenance programs continue to have their budgets reduced".

Restructuring work on the 1.2 km-long bridge, a major artery to the Italian Riviera and to France's southern coast, was carried out in 2016. Buildings under the bridge were damaged in the collapse and there is concern that the rest of the bridge could fall, he said.

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 United States to close it during renovation.

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