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highway bridge collapse

Image source CBS News

At least 26 people were killed and other 15 severly injured in Genoa, Italy, after a dramatic collapse of a highway bridge.

Dozens of vehicles fell 45m (148ft).

Rescuers are now searching into the night for possible survivors

Reports say cries can be heard from people trapped in the debris. Twelve people are said to be missing.

Some 300 firefighters from across Italy have been using sniffer dogs and climbing gear in the search.

Hundreds of people were evacuated amid fears other parts of the bridge might fall.

The cause of the bridge’s collapse, which occurred during torrential rain, was not immediately clear but questions had been raised about the safety of the structure.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has vowed to bring anyone responsible for the collapse to book.

The Morandi Bridge, built in the 1960s, stands on the A10 toll highway, an important conduit for goods traffic from local ports, which also serves the Italian Riviera and southern coast of France.

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The Italian fire service tweeted a video of one person being extracted and carefully lowered on cables from a shattered vehicle, which was suspended in the wreckage of the bridge, high above the ground.

Between 30 and 35 cars and three heavy vehicles were on the bridge at the time of the collapse.

A huge tower and sections of the bridge collapsed on to railway lines, a river and a warehouse. Reports suggest that nobody was killed on the ground, although some people were injured.

A section measuring about 200 meters fell at around 11:30 local time. Police say there was a violent cloudburst at the time.

An unnamed witness quoted by Italy’s Ansa news agency said: “We heard an incredible roar and first we thought it was thunder very close by.

“We live about 5km [3 miles] from the bridge but we heard a crazy bang… We were very scared… Traffic went completely haywire and the city was paralyzed.”

The collapse of the bridge was an “incident of vast proportions on a vital arterial road, not just for Genoa, but for the whole country”, said the governor of Liguria region, Giovanni Toti.

“The Morandi bridge connects three major ports in our country, used by tens, even hundreds of thousands of people. They depart from these ports on holiday. These docks receive most of our country’s imported goods. It damages the very structure of the Italian logistics system. We are expecting a very fast response from the government.”

The new government has pledged to increase public investment.

Italy spent more than €14 billion ($16 billion) on its roads in 2006 but that had dropped to less than €4 billion after the 2008 financial crisis, after the according to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The figures cover spending on new transport construction and the improvement of the existing networks.


A highway bridge under construction in Colombia has collapsed, killing at least 9 workers and injuring 5 others.

The bridge in Chirajara was to be part of a highway connecting Bogotá with the city of Villavicencio.

Images from the scene show a large part of the 450m-long bridge lying in the ravine below.

Colombia’s Transport Minister Germán Cardona spoke of a “tragedy” and said the cause of the collapse would be investigated.

One of the workers injured in the collapse described the moment it happened.

Luis Alvarado told El Tiempo newspaper: “Everyone started shouting that the bridge was falling, I didn’t have time to do anything and then I felt a blow to my head.”

Image source AFP

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Construction officials said that fortunately not many workers were on the bridge at the time of the collapse as staff were receiving a safety briefing.

The bridge is part of an ambitious program to improve the route leading from the capital to the eastern plains by turning parts of it into a dual carriageway.

The planned works include the construction of 18 new tunnels and 42 bridges and viaducts as well as new lighting and CCTV cameras.

The existing – winding and narrow – road faces frequent closures with trucks supplying the capital with produce often breaking down, blocking traffic.

The company tasked with the works is Coviandes, which is majority-owned by a Colombian investment corporation.

On January 15, Coviandes issued a statement saying it would do everything it could to help the families of the workers who died or were injured in the collapse.