MILAN (AP) — A bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed Tuesday in the Italian port city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 45 meters (nearly 150 feet) into a heap of rubble. The city's mayor said at least 25 people were killed, although some people were found alive in the debris.
A huge section of the Morandi Bridge fell at midday over an industrial zone, sending tons of twisted steel and concrete onto warehouses below. Photos from the Italian news agency ANSA showed a massive gap between two sections of the bridge.
The head of Italy's civil protection agency, Angelo Borrelli, said 30-35 cars and three heavy trucks were on the 80-meter (260-foot) section of the bridge that collapsed.
Hundreds of firefighters and emergency officials were searching for survivors in the rubble with heavy equipment. Firefighters said at least two people were pulled alive from vehicles and taken by helicopter to a hospital.
Video of the collapse captured a man screaming: "Oh, God! Oh, God!" Other images showed a green truck that had stopped just short of the edge and the tires of a tractor trailer in the rubble.
There was confusion over the exact death toll, which kept rising during the day.
Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci told Sky TG24 that the number of dead was above 25 people and that 11 injured were pulled from the rubble. Two other officials earlier put the death toll at 22 with 13 injured but said it was expected to rise.
Borrelli told a news conference in Rome that all the victims appeared to all have been in vehicles that fell from the bridge.
The disaster occurred on a highway that connects Italy to France, and northern cities like Milan to the beaches of Liguria.
The collapse also came on the eve of a major Italian summer holiday on Wednesday called Ferragosto, which marks the religious feast of the Assumption of Mary. It's the high point of the Italian summer holiday season, when most cities and business are closed and Italians head to the beaches or the mountains. That means traffic could have been heavier than usual on the Genoa highway.
The Morandi Bridge is a main thoroughfare connecting the A10 highway that goes toward France and the A7 highway that continues north toward Milan. Inaugurated in 1967, it is just over a kilometer (.6 miles) long.
Borrelli said highway engineers were checking other parts of the bridge and that some areas were being evacuated as a precaution. He said they were still trying to figure out the reason for the collapse.
"You can see there are very big portions of the bridge (that collapsed). We need to remove all of the rubble to ascertain that all of the people have been reached," he said, adding that more than 280 rescue workers and dogs units were on the scene.
"Operations are ongoing to extract people imprisoned below parts of the bridge and twisted metal," he said.
Borrelli said there was no construction going on at the time on the bridge.
Firefighters told The Associated Press they were worried about gas lines exploding in the area from the collapse.
Transportation Minister Danilo Toninelli called the collapse "an enormous tragedy."
ANSA said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will travel to Genoa later in the day.
"We are following minute by minute the situation," Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Twitter.
French President Emmanuel Macron offered his country's help in a phone call with Conte.
It was the second deadly disaster on an Italian highway in as many weeks.
On Aug. 6, another major accident occurred on an Italian highway near the northern city of Bologna. A tanker truck carrying a highly flammable gas exploded after rear-ending a stopped truck and getting hit from behind. The accident killed one person, injured dozens and blew apart a section of a raised eight-lane highway.
MILAN (AP) — The Italian news agency ANSA citing the Interior Ministry says that 11 people are confirmed dead in the collapse of a highway bridge in the port city of Genoa.
ANSA reported Tuesday that five people are injured and in serious condition. The Interior Ministry press office could not immediately confirm the fatalities.
An official with Italian firefighters, Amalia Tedeschi, told RAI state TV that some 20 vehicles, including cars and trucks, had been involved in the collapse. She confirmed that two people had been extracted alive from vehicles, with injuries.
Tedeschi said that sniffer dogs are at work in the rubble looking for more injured and victims. In addition, heavy equipment was being moved in so they could lift pieces of the bridge.
Tedeschi said the part of the bridge that collapsed was about 80 meters (yards) in length. Media reports had earlier put it at 200 meters.
MILAN (AP) — A bridge on a main highway between Italy and France collapsed Tuesday in the Italian city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 80 meters (262 feet) into a heap of rubble below.
Amalia Tedeschi, a firefighter, told RAI state TV that some 20 vehicles had been involved in the collapse. She said two people had been pulled alive from vehicles in the rubble that fell into an industrial area below the bridge and were being transported by helicopter to a hospital.
Italian media reported deaths in the tragedy, but Maria Luisa Catalano, a police official in Genoa, said authorities were focused on rescue efforts and did not yet know the number of victims or injured.
The private broadcaster Sky TG24 said a 200-meter (over 650-foot) section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed over an industrial zone. Firefighters told The Associated Press they were worried about gas lines exploding in the area from the collapse.
Photos published by ANSA on its website showed a huge gulf between two sections of the bridge.
Video captured the sound of a man screaming: "Oh God! Oh, God!" Other images showed a green truck that had stopped just short of the gaping hole in the bridge. The tires of a tractor trailor could be seen in the rubble.
Italy's transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, called the collapse "an enormous tragedy."
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said some 200 firefighters were responding to the accident.
"We are following minute by minute the situation of the bridge collapse in Genoa," Salvini said on Twitter.
The disaster occurred on a highway that connects Italy to France and other vacation resorts on the eve of a major Italian holiday on Wednesday, Ferragosto. Traffic would have been heavier than usual as many Italians traveled to beaches or mountains.
The Morandi Bridge is a main thoroughfare connecting the A10 highway that goes toward France and the A7 highway that continues north toward Milan. Inaugurated in 1967, it is 90 meters (295 feet) high, just over a kilometer (.6 miles) long, with the longest section between supports measuring 200 meters (over 650 feet).
ANSA said authorities suspected that a structural weakness caused the collapse on Tuesday.
MILAN (AP) — Italian authorities say that about 10 vehicles were involved when a raised highway collapsed during a sudden and violent storm in the northern port city of Genoa.
Private broadcaster Sky TG24 said that a 200-meter section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed Tuesday over an industrial zone, and firefighters told The Associated Press that there are concerns about gas lines.
Police on Twitter said the collapse occurred during a sudden violent storm, while firefighters said vehicles were involved, indicating the likelihood of fatalities.
Photos published by the ANSA news agency on its website showed a huge gulf between two sections of the highway.
Video captured the sound of a man screaming: "Oh god, oh, god." Other images showed a green truck that had stopped on the bridge just meters (yards) short of the gaping hole in the bridge.