Death Toll in Genoa Bridge Collapse Reaches 39, Italy’s Liguria in 12-Month Emergency
A total of 39 people have now been confirmed as fatalities in the collapse of the Morandi road bridge in Italy’s Genoa, as the central government has declared a 12-month state of emergency for the affected region of Liguria.
A 200-meter-long (656-foot) section of the “Morandi” viaduct on the A10 highway in Genoa collapsed just before noon local time on Tuesday, killing and injuring dozens of people.
On Wednesday, the local authorities declared two days of morning, and raised the number of the fatalities to 39, two of whom remained unidentified, BBC News reports.
At least three of those killed in the Morandi bridge collapse are children. A total of 16 people were being treated in hospital, 12 of them in a serious condition.
Some 440 people living in the area of the bridge collapse were evacuated from their homes as one of the standing bridge pillars began cracking.
The vast section of the A10 highway collapsed on top of railway tracks in Genoa. The incident occurred as the road bridge was undergoing maintenance work, and the entire region of Liguria saw torrential rains and severe storms. The exact cause of the bridge collapse remains unclear for the time being.
Genoa’s collapsed Morandi road bridge was built in the 1967 as part of the A10 toll highway, and was revamped in 2016. It connects the A10 highway towards France and the A7 highway that runs northwards towards Milan.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared a 12-month state of emergency in Genoa’s Liguria region in response to the highway bridge collapse, and said he would provide EUR 5 million for relief from central government funds.
Italy’s Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli has urged the top management of Autostrade per L’Italia, which oversees maintenance of the Morandi bridge.
He said the company had failed to meet its contractual obligations, and he would seek to fine it and revoke its license. Autostrade per L’Italia has argued that it had monitored the bridge quarterly, as required by the law.
The Genoa Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into possible negligent homicide, with the head prosecutor blaming the bridge collapse on “human error”.
There have been warnings about the state of the Morandi bridge. In 2011, Autostrade per L’Italia admitted the bridge had been suffering from degradation due to heavy traffic.
In December 2012, a local industry confederation official spoke of the collapse of the Morandi bridge “in 10 years”, and in 2016, structural engineer Antonio Brencich spoke of “errors in this bridge”.
Almost 40 vehicles are estimated to have fallen down together with the collapsing Morandi bridge, and rescuers have made it clear that the chances of find survivors are very slim.
Those killed in the bridge collapse include entire families, people going on holiday, people going to work.
The only survivor from the collapse is Davide Capello, 33, a former goalkeeper for Serie A football (soccer) team Cagliari. He survived thanks to sheer luck as his car fell in a pocket between the collapsing columns.
The incident with the Morandi bridge in Genoa is the fifth road bridge collapse in Italy in the past five years.
(Banner image: Italian police on Twitter)