Italian footballer survives 30-metre fall in 'apocalyptic' bridge collapse

The collapsed Morandi Bridge is seen in the Italian port city of Genoa Italy

The collapsed Morandi Bridge is seen in the Italian port city of Genoa Italy

The number of people killed when a bridge collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa has risen to 38, Italy's Co-Deputy Prime Minister said on Wednesday (Aug 15).

A witness told Sky Italia television he saw "eight or nine " vehicles on the bridge when it collapsed in what he said was an "apocalyptic scene".

"I was driving along the bridge, and at a certain point I saw the road in front of me collapse, and I went down with the vehicle", he told local media.

Within hours of the disaster on a morning of torrential rain, the anti-establishment government that took office in June said the bridge collapse showed Italy needed to spend more to improve its dilapidated infrastructure, ignoring European Union budget constraints if necessary.

The Morandi bridge, which was inaugurated in 1967, is 90-metres high and just over 1km long.

"There has not been sufficient maintenance and checks, and safety work for many bridges and viaducts and bridges in Italy constructed - nearly all - during the 1960s", he said.

The "queues of cars and the volume of traffic provoke intense degradation of the bridge structure on a daily basis in rush hour, as it is subject to major demands", the report, quoted by Italian news agency Ansa, said.

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

More than 300 rescue workers and canine crews have been sent to the scene as the search for survivors continues.

"We have a duty to plan an extraordinary measure to monitor the state of infrastructure across the country", Conte told reporters in Genoa on Tuesday.

Economic news agency Radiocor reported that Italy's motorway agency had recently launched a €20-million tender for work on the viaduct.

"These kind of tragedies can not and should not happen in a civil country", Italy's transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, told the Italian TV channel TG1. Atlantia and Autostrade did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"This bridge has had quite a lot of maintenance work", said Ian Firth, past president of the UK-based Institution of Structural Engineers, and a structural engineer specialising in bridges.

The design of the bridge has been criticized in the past.

He did not say at the time that it was in danger of collapsing, but that it required continuous maintenance and would eventually have to be torn down and replaced. Restructuring work on the bridge was carried out in 2016. The motorway it carries is a major artery from northern Italy's industrial centres to the Italian Riviera and to France's southern coast.

Autostrade said work to shore up the road foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse.

"The tragic facts in Genoa remind us of the public investments that we so badly need", said Claudio Borghi, the League's economy spokesman.

Meanwhile Italian and French authorities are coordinating to stem the flow of trucks heading into Italy to alleviate congestion caused by the bridge collapse, the Italian State Police said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Latest News