Tragic Italian Bridge Collapse Footage And How It Could Have Been Prevented

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte centre visits the site

Italy's Ansa news agency quoted a witness as saying they heard "an incredible roar and first we thought it was thunder very close by".

Roberto Robbiano, his wife Ersilia Piccinino and their seven-year-old son Samuele are believed to have died when their auto plummeted to the ground after a section of the Morandi viaduct collapsed during torrential rain on Tuesday.

More than 400 people were evacuated from buildings near or below the still-standing section of the bridge.

That bridge "has also experienced problems during its life, so it could be that the design implies a need for a greater degree of maintenance than normal", Mr Firth said.

Some 60,000 vehicles would cross the Morandi Bridge every day; families on summer vacation, employees on their commute, and truckers ferrying goods from one side of the city to the other.

He added that a safety audit will be carried out on ageing bridges and tunnels across the country.

A crushed truck is seen at the collapsed Morandi Bridge site in the port city of Genoa, Italy.

However, locals say that the bridge has had problems for years, and that it was often attended to by repair crews, but the fixes were never long-lasting, and many in Genoa had petitioned the authorities to replace it.

Rescuers scoured the wreckage of Italy's bridge collapse on Wednesday (Aug 15) as the death toll climbed to 38 and the government blamed the bridge's private owner, demanding resignations and moving to strip its toll concession.

The office of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he was heading to Genoa in the evening and would remain there on Wednesday.

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Some 200 firefighters were on the scene, the fire service said, and Sky Italia television said four people had been pulled from the rubble.

The collapse came as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work and as the Liguria region, where Genoa is situated, experienced torrential rainfall.

Italy's far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini said he was following events in Genoa "up to the minute" and thanked the emergency services for their swift response.

Autostrade said it would work with investigators to discover the cause of the disaster, and that it was already assessing how to rebuild the bridge.

The motorway operator said work to shore up the bridge's foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse, during which time it was being constantly monitored. "The increasing number of collapses we are seeing in recent years is likely to worsen as deterioration, and inspection and maintenance programs continue to have their budgets reduced".

The government has pledged to increase public investments and lobby the European Commission to have the extra spending excluded from EU deficit calculations.

Antonio Brencich, engineer and associate professor of reinforced concrete constructions at the University of Genoa, expressed concern back 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.

An Italian former professional footballer has described his remarkable escape from death after his auto went down with the motorway bridge that collapsed in Genoa, as the death toll rose to 38.

Atlantia shares closed down more than 5%.

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