Scores dead after Italy's Genoa bridge collapse

Scores dead after Italy's Genoa bridge collapse

Italian rescue workers searched through the night and into the morning on Wednesday, in hope of finding survivors of a bridge collapse in the Italian city of Genoa.

A 100-meter section of the Morandi Bridge, known as Genoa's "Brooklyn Bridge," collapsed amid torrential rain on Tuesday causing vehicles on the bridge to fall some 45 meters, but it is unclear what actually caused the incident.

Developments on Wednesday

  • Authorities raised the death toll to 35.
  • Many of the injured remain in serious condition.
  • Italy's transport minister called for senior managers at Autostrade per l'Italia, the company operating the bridge, to resign.

  • The transport minister said the company could face millions of euros in fines.

Calls for infrastructure overhaul

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the catastrophe as "a serious wound for Genoa, Liguria and Italy" and that "all infrastructure" across the country needed to be double-checked. "We must not allow another tragedy like this to happen again," he added.

Italian Infrastructure and Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli blamed the private company that runs much of Italy's motorway network for the incident.

The company guilty of "serious shortcomings" will have its concession to run the motorway network withdrawn and face fines of up to €150 million ($170 million), Toninelli wrote on Facebook.

Interior minister points finger at EU austerity

Meanwhile, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini blamed the European Union for making Italy unsafe.

Funds that would be spent on health and safety "are not allowed to be billed according to strict ... rules imposed by Europe," the euroskeptic politician told local broadcaster Radio24. "You always have to ask for permission to spend money," he added.

President Sergio Mattarella echoed the calls for better conditions on Italian roads.

"Italians have the right to modern and efficient infrastructure that accompanies them safely through their everyday lives," Mattarella said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin were among the world leaders who sent their condolences.

The Morandi Bridge:

The Morandi Bridge was designed by Riccardo Morandi and built in 1967. It was built using reinforced concrete which was the best-known technology at the time. It is one of Genoa's most important pieces of infrastructure, providing a link to the Italian Riviera and France's southern coast.

Why it happened:

The cause of the collapse is still unknown, but some of the potential causes include a possible lightning strike due to the storm at the time of the collapse, an engineering failure, aging infrastructure and corrosion.

Concerns over infrastructure:

Following the bridge's collapse, Italy's CNR civil engineering society said the working lifespan of bridges built during the 1950s and 1960s was only about 50 years. The Morandi Bridge has been in use for more than five decades. law/kms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Updated : 2021-02-25 20:50 GMT+08:00