Italy witnessed an unprecedented, perhaps foretold disaster in Genoa.
Over a hundred meters of the Morandi bridge on the A10 motorway collapsed while a storm struck the region.
38 people were confirmed death, including an 8, 12 and 13 year old.
Dozens of vehicles were involved in the incident.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Civil Protection speaks of 20 confirmed deaths, but according to sources of rescuers the victims would be 35, including a 10-year-old child. Sixteen injured, some are serious.
There are a total of 440 people forced to leave their homes as a result of the collapse. The number could increase as assessments on evictions are still ongoing. This was announced by the Municipality of Genoa.
The Civil Protection of the Municipality has so far provided to evacuate 11 buildings and the situation is under constant monitoring.
Italy’s transport minister called on Wednesday for senior managers to resign at the company operating the bridge that collapsed in the port city of Genoa, killing at least 35 people.
The government will also look into stripping Autostrade per l’Italia, a unit of the Atlantia group, of the concession to manage the motorway that included the Morandi Bridge, and imposing financial penalties on the group, Danilo Toninelli said.
“The top management of Autostrade per l’Italia must step down first of all,” Toninelli said in a Facebook post.
“Autostrade per l’Italia was not able to fulfill its obligations under the contract regulating management of this infrastructure,” he said on RAI 1 state television.
“I have given mandate to my ministry to start all proceedings to apply the agreement, that is to revoke the concession from these companies and seek significant sanctions which can reach up to 150 million euros based on the terms of the contract.”
Fire brigade sources said that, up to now, 35 people are dead after a section of a highway bridge in Genoa collapsed on Tuesday. Five injured people were in hospital in a serious condition.
Many victims were in crushed vehicles, rescue sources said. Four people were pulled out alive, rescue sources said. A child is among the victims, police sources said.
Civil Protection Chief Angelo Borrelli said Tuesday that 30 to 35 cars and three lorries were travelling on the Genoa highway viaduct when it collapsed, killing many people. Some lorries ended up in the Polvecera river, Carabinieri police sources said.
The moment of the collapse
The Morandi Bridge connects the A10 highway that goes toward the French Riviera and the A7 highway that continues north toward Milan. Inaugurated in 1967, it is just over a kilometer (.6 miles) long.
The bridge runs over shopping centres, factories, some homes, the Genoa-Milan railway line and the river.
It’s a catastrophe, a scary disgrace to absurd,” commented President Sergio Mattarella. “This is the moment of common commitment, to face the emergency, to assist the wounded, to support those affected by pain, which must be followed by a serious and severe examination of the causes of what has happened. exercise of full responsibility: the families of so many victims demand it, the communities affected by an event that will leave their mark, the conscience of our national society requires it. “Italians have the right to modern and efficient infrastructures that accompany everyday life with safety: the controls, the culture of prevention and the intelligent modernization of the communications system must always be at the center of the actions of public institutions and private dealers, at all levels “, writes Mattarella.
The Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte went on the location with the undersecretary Edoardo Rixi .
Conte said we should all reflect. “All the competent authorities, all the people who have responsibilities, will have to reflect on the point. I can inform your that the government is absolutely together as it has been affected by this tragedy.”
“At the moment the balance is already very high: 22 deaths (At the time), 16 wounded of which 9 in critical condition, but unfortunately from what I have seen I have to worry that there may be some more victims than those established so far”, adds Conte
The vice premier Luigi Di Maio, who wrote on the social media, has arrived in Genoa : “It’s a huge tragedy, and the rescuers are constantly at work and I thank them for their commitment.” I’m going there because the State, at this moment, must make its proximity felt and be first of all close to the families of the victims “.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini wrote on Facebook: “We will go all the way to ascertain the responsibilities of this huge disaster “.
The Minister of the Interior then sent his “thanks to the hundreds of professionals and volunteers working for hours in the rescue” and concluded with a “prayer for the victims and their families”. “
Transportation Minister Danilo Toninelli called the collapse “an enormous tragedy,” adding that if negligence played a role, “whoever made a mistake must pay.”
Toninelli said the company that has the concession to operate that section of highway said its maintenance on the bridge was up to date and no work was being done at the time of the collapse. 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.
“There has not been sufficient maintenance and checks, and safety work for many bridges and viaducts and bridges in Italy constructed — almost all — during the 1960s,” he said.
Since getting the job two months ago, Toninelli said he has asked for updates on the state of all bridges and viaducts in Italy. Many are operated by outside contractors.
The president of the Liguria Region, Giovanni Toti, intervened on the matter : “We are following with great apprehension the terrible tragedy that struck Genoa, with the collapse of the Morandi bridge: civil protection and all our vehicles are mobilized to provide relief. we will keep up to date “.
“The collapse of Morandi bridge is an immense tragedy for our city – said the mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci
The Experts’ Views
One rescuer said that there was a risk the other sections of the Genoa viaduct could cave in. “There is a risk the other parts of the bridge could fall,” one of the rescuers said.
“That’s why we have evacuated people from the buildings in the area”.
The design of the bridge has been criticized in the past. Antonio Brencich, a professor specializing in reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa, called the span “a failure of engineering” in an interview in 2016.
“That bridge is wrong. Sooner or later it will have to be replaced. I do not know when. But there will be a time when the cost of maintenance will be higher than a replacement,” he told Italian media Primocanale.
Other engineers said corrosion or weather conditions could have been part of the cause.
“As this reinforced and pre-stressed concrete bridge has been there for 50 years, it is possible that corrosion of tendons or reinforcement may be a contributory factor,” said Ian Firth, former president of The Institution of Structural Engineers, a London-based international network. He called the bridge “an unusual design.”
Mehdi Kashani, an associate professor in structural mechanics at the University of Southampton in the U.K., said maintenance issues and pressure from “dynamic loads,” such as traffic and wind, could have resulted in “fatigue damage in bridge components.”
Borrelli said highway engineers were checking other parts of the bridge and that some areas were evacuated as a precaution. He said they were still trying to figure out the cause of the collapse.
“You can see there are very big portions of the bridge (that collapsed). We need to remove all of the rubble to ascertain that all of the people have been reached,” he said. More than 300 rescue workers and canine crews were on the scene.
“Operations are ongoing to extract people imprisoned below parts of the bridge and twisted metal,” he said.
Based on AP, Ansa, TgCom, Rai and Twitter Feeds.