Italy bridge: Genoa motorway collapse kills at least 22

BY: BBC
Italy bridge: Genoa motorway collapse kills at least 22

A motorway bridge has collapsed in the northwest Italian city of Genoa, sending vehicles plummeting up to 90m (295ft) to the ground and killing at least 22 people, officials say.

Video footage appears to show one of the towers holding up the suspension bridge collapsing in stormy weather.

Vehicles fell along with bridge debris on to rail tracks and a warehouse.

Emergency workers are trying to free people caught in crushed vehicles or rubble, and are using sniffer dogs.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli spoke of an "immense tragedy" and France offered Italy its support.

How did the structure collapse?


It fell around 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT) during heavy rain. Police reported a violent cloudburst.

"It was just after 11:30 when we saw lightning strike the bridge," eyewitness Pietro M all'Asa was quoted as saying by Italy's Ansa news agency. "And we saw the bridge going down."

Another witness, unnamed, recalled: "We heard an incredible roar and first we thought it was thunder very close by.

"We live about 5km [three miles] from the bridge but we heard a crazy bang... We were very scared... Traffic went completely haywire and the city was paralysed."

How did the structure collapse?

It fell around 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT) during heavy rain. Police reported a violent cloudburst.

"It was just after 11:30 when we saw lightning strike the bridge," eyewitness Pietro M all'Asa was quoted as saying by Italy's Ansa news agency. "And we saw the bridge going down."

Another witness, unnamed, recalled: "We heard an incredible roar and first we thought it was thunder very close by.

"We live about 5km [three miles] from the bridge but we heard a crazy bang... We were very scared... Traffic went completely haywire and the city was paralysed."

The missing section was dozens of metres in length, and ran across the span of the Polcevera river.

Were there any concerns about the bridge?
"It's not acceptable that such an important bridge... was not built to avoid this kind of collapse," Mr Rixi was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

Restructuring work on the bridge was carried out in 2016, the agency reports.

The highway operator said work to shore up its foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse, and the bridge was constantly monitored.