GENOA | Thirty people were killed Tuesday in the collapse of a long stretch of a viaduct of the A10 highway in Genoa, northern Italy, which rushed cars and trucks into the void from a height 45 meters.
“Unfortunately, there are about thirty confirmed deaths and many serious injuries,” said Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, during a press briefing in Catania (Sicily), while aid continues to search the rubble.
“This bridge, I have passed over hundreds of times, but now I will do everything to have the names of past and present leaders. It is unacceptable to die like that in Italy, “he said.
The base of the viaduct was being consolidated, according to the Italian motorway company.
On the spot, dozens of rescuers, accompanied by dogs, were busy around the remains of the bridge and the carcasses of trucks and cars crushed, even entangled in the structure. Firefighters evacuated bodies on stretchers, while helicopters were waiting for the wounded.
“The first surface casualties have been evacuated, now we must search under the rubble of the buildings, but there are thousands of tons of concrete,” reported AFP a French firefighter came in support, Patrick Villardry.
Anticipating a high number of casualties in this collapse of the bridge, the deadliest in Europe since 2001, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Danilo Toninelli, had evoked “an immense tragedy”.
The head of government, Giuseppe Conte, is expected in the evening in Genoa.
The bridge called Morandi, named after its designer, collapsed around 12 pm (local time) on about sixty meters.
Television footage showed a green truck stopped just before the gaping hole of the collapsed bridge.
— Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) August 14, 2018
Some residents, close to the scene, told Italian media that they first thought of “an earthquake” when they heard the deafening noise. Others said they saw lightning strike the bridge just before the tragedy.
At the time of the tragedy, the rains were intense in Genoa, while the meteorological services had issued an alert to storms and heavy rains.
Below the bridge were essentially railroad tracks and a factory, of which only the parking seems to have been affected. The company was empty as it approached August 15, the holiday, except for the presence of a maintenance team.
Work in progress
A child is among the dead, according to the UNICEF spokesman. And a 47-year-old Czech driver was injured, told AFP Tomas Kubicek, a manager of his company in Prague.
“He has a broken nose and four ribs, and a perforated lung. His condition is stable, my colleague spoke to him. He is happy to have survived, “he said.
According to the Italian motorway company, “consolidation works were under way on the viaduct”, which was the subject of “constant observation and vigilance”.
At the Milan Stock Exchange, the Atlantia group, which owns the motorway company, plunged 10% after the accident.
“The first indications would seem to indicate that the maintenance was done,” said Mr. Toninelli, before appearing to immediately put this statement in question.
Violento nubifragio #Genova #crollo parte del viadotto Polcevera-Morandi Km 0,200 su autostrada A10
Uscita obbligatoria Genova aeroporto direzione Ventimiglia
Uscita obbligatoria bivio A10 con A7 direzione Genova @StradeAnas @DPCgov @emergenzavvf @Viminale @ComunediGenova pic.twitter.com/7YJINjFWRX
— Polizia di Stato (@poliziadistato) August 14, 2018
“These tragedies can not happen in a civilized country like Italy. Maintenance has priority over everything else and managers will have to pay, “he insisted.
The A10 motorway, known as the “Autoroute des Fleurs”, connects Genoa to Ventimiglia, on the French border. Due to the rugged terrain of the region, between sea and mountains, its course is marked by long viaducts and tunnels.
Built between 1963 and 1967, the year of its inauguration, the 1.2 km long bridge was built with a mixed structure, prestressed reinforced concrete and ordinary reinforced concrete, according to the website ingegneri.info.
Last week, Italian rescue services had already been put to the test with the explosion of a tanker truck on the Bologna ring road, which had left one person dead and around 100 wounded.
France is on the side of Italy “and” stands ready to provide all the necessary support, “assured French President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also expressed her condolences on Twitter: “Like many Germans, I think of the victims and their loved ones”.