Genoa bridge death toll rises as Italy holds day of mourning

Genoa bridge death toll rises as Italy holds day of mourning

Italy prepared on Saturday to commemorate the dozens of people killed when a motorway bridge collapsed in the northern port city of Genoa.

The official ceremonies come as the ANSA news agency reported that a family of three, including a 9-year-old girl, had been found under rubble, bringing the death toll from the disaster to 41.

The fire department has so far only confirmed the recovery of the "completely crushed" car they were traveling in.

Two other people are reported to be still missing.

Public fury

La Stampa newspaper has reported that the families of 17 victims have refused to take part in official commemorations while seven others have not yet decided whether to attend amid continued public outrage at perceived failures by authorities.

"It is the state that has provoked this. They shouldn't show their faces; this parade of politicians is shameful," the paper quoted the mother of one victim as saying.

President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte were scheduled to attend a state funeral service in Genoa, along with other dignitaries.

Passing the blame

The populist government has put the blame for the catastrophe on the operator of the Morandi viaduct, Autostrade per L'Italia, saying the company had failed to invest sufficiently in maintenance.

The company denies the charges, saying it had put more than €1 billion ($1.14 billion) into maintenance since 2012. It says it will be holding a press conference on Saturday to announce its plans for victims and the city.

The Morandi viaduct, which dates from the 1960s, has experienced a string of structural problems over the decades, with engineering experts severely criticizing the structure.

The collapse is thought to have possibly been caused by the failure of one of the stay cables supporting the deck of the bridge, according to one engineer investigating the disaster.

Read more: Italy opens probe into operator of collapsed Genoa bridge

tj/jlw (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

Updated : 2021-03-01 06:14 GMT+08:00