Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Italian bridge collapse sends cars plunging, killing 26

Published:Tuesday | August 14, 2018 | 4:12 PM
In this photo released by the Italian firefighters, rescue teams work among the rubble of the collapsed Morando highway bridge in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, August 14, 2018. (Vigili Del Fuoco via AP)

MILAN (AP) — A 51-year-old highway bridge in the Italian port city of Genoa collapsed in a driving rain Tuesday, killing at least 26 people and injuring 16 others as it sent dozens of vehicles tumbling into a heap of concrete and twisted steel.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte called it “an immense tragedy ... inconceivable in a modern system like ours, a modern country.”

The disaster, on a major interchange connecting Genoa and other northern cities with beaches in eastern Liguria into France, focused attention on Italy’s aging infrastructure, particularly its concrete bridges and viaducts built in the postwar boom of the 1950s and 1960s.

What caused the Morandi Bridge to fall remained unknown, and prosecutors said they were opening an investigation but had not identified any targets.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said the collapse was “unacceptable” and that if negligence played a role “whoever made a mistake must pay.”

Early speculation focused on the structural weakness of the span.

Witnesses reported hearing a roar as the 45-meter bridge collapsed in a torrential rain during midday traffic on the eve of a major holiday that sees most Italians abandoning cities for beaches and mountains.

One unidentified woman who was standing below told RAI state TV that it crumbled as if it were a mound of baking flour.

Video of the collapse, showing a misty scene of crumbled concrete, captured a man screaming: “Oh, God! Oh, God!”

Civil Protection authorities said at least 30 cars and three heavy vehicles were on the 80-meter section of the span that collapsed in the industrial area of warehouses.

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