Italy bridge: Genoa motorway collapse kills at least 22

Media captionParts of the bridge can be seen collapsing

A motorway bridge has collapsed near the northwest Italian city of Genoa, sending vehicles plummeting up to 90m (295ft) to the ground and killing at least 22 people, officials say.

Video footage appears to show one of the towers holding up the suspension bridge collapsing in stormy weather.

Vehicles fell along with bridge debris on to rail tracks.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli spoke of an “immense tragedy” and France offered Italy its support.

Shares in Atlantia, the toll road operator which runs much of the country’s motorways, fell 6.3% after news of the collapse.

“It’s not acceptable that such an important bridge… was not built to avoid this kind of collapse,” Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying from Genoa.

French President Emmanuel Macron has tweeted a message of sympathy to the people of Italy, writing in both Italian and French. He said France was ready to offer any necessary aid.

How did the structure collapse?

It fell around 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT) during heavy rain. Police reported a violent cloudburst.

“It was just after 11:30 when we saw lightning strike the bridge,” eyewitness Pietro M all’Asa was quoted as saying by Italy’s Ansa news agency. “And we saw the bridge going down.”

Traffic was queuing on the bridge at the time, an eyewitness told Italian public television.

Cars and trucks were trapped in the rubble and nearby buildings damaged, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.

One image posted by the regional emergency services shows a truck perched at the end of the surviving bridge section immediately before the drop.

Rescue workers are operating “en masse” at the scene, regional emergency services say.

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How important is the bridge?

The Morandi Bridge, built in the 1960s, stands on the A10 toll motorway, which serves the Italian Riviera and southern coast of France.

The missing section was dozens of metres in length, and ran across the span of the Polcevera river.

Work to shore up the foundation of the bridge was being carried out at the time of the collapse but the structure was constantly monitored, the motorway operator was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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Italy bridge: Genoa motorway collapse kills at least 22

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