Death toll rises to 38 in Italy bridge collapse

Vastavam web: A frantic search was underway today for survivors of a bridge collapse in Genoa as the death toll rose to 38 and the government blamed the company in charge of the country’s motorways for the disaster.A vast span of the Morandi bridge caved in during a heavy rainstorm in the northern port city on Tuesday, sending about 35 cars and several trucks plunging 45 metres (150 feet) onto the railway tracks below.

The victims include children aged eight, 12 and 13, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said today, adding that more people were still missing.Deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio, who is due to arrive in Genoa on Wednesday morning, said the tragedy “could have been avoided”.

“Autostrade should have done maintenance and didn’t do it,” he said.Rescuers recovered three bodies overnight, fire official Emanuele Gissi told.AFP, after scouring the scene of devastation under floodlights.”We cannot know if there are survivors remaining, but it’s our job to search.” He added that two large cranes would be used in the operation, which is set to take days.Sources in the interior ministry told Italian media that 16 people were wounded, including 12 in serious condition.

The collapse came as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work while the Liguria region, where Genoa is situated, experienced torrential rainfall.Italian President Sergio Mattarella said a “catastrophe” had hit Genoa and the whole of Italy.Aerial footage showed more than 200 metres (650 feet) of the viaduct was completely destroyed.Rescuers combed through the wreckage strewn among shrubland and train tracks, as helicopters winched survivors on stretchers from the rubble.

A thousand people have been mobilised in the rescue effort, according to the Civil Protection service.As cars and trucks tumbled off the bridge, Afifi Idriss, 39, a Moroccan lorry driver, just managed to come to a halt in time.Some that plunged down with the bridge managed to escape unscathed, including a former goalkeeper for Italian Serie A club Cagliari.”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 car,” Davide Capello told TV news channel Sky TG24.