Italy bridge collapse: Former footballer describes 'apocalypse'

Dozens die after Italian bridge collapses, Latest World News

Dozens die after Italian bridge collapses, Latest World News

One eyewitness, who gave his name as Andrea Rescigno and said he was in his vehicle at the time of the bridge collapse, said in a phone interview with Genoa TV station Primocanale that he saw "cars and trucks plunging into the void".

The bridge collapse took place during one of Italy's busiest periods for holiday traffic, when families abandon cities en masse and head for the beach, including to small towns to the east and west of Genoa overlooking the Ligurian Sea.

Vehicles on the bridge plummeted as far as 90 metres.

While official death toll numbers varied throughout the day, officials in the Liguria region said Tuesday night that 26 people had died and 15 were injured.

Capello, 33, told the Turin newspaper La Stampa the ordeal was "apocalyptic".

Firefighters climbed across the unstable debris before using an angle grinder to cut through the wires and eventually drag out a victim who was trapped for hours after the bridge collapsed.

He told Sky TG24: "I was driving along the bridge, and at a certain point I saw the road in front of me collapse, and I went down with the auto".

An 80-metre section of the bridge, including one set of the supports that tower above it, crashed down onto the roof of a factory and other buildings, crushing at least one truck and plunging huge slabs of concrete into the river below.

Dozens die after Italian bridge collapses, Latest World News

Some 200 firefighters were on the scene, the fire service said, and Italian news agency ANSA said two survivors had been pulled out of the rubble under the collapse.

What caused the collapse is still unknown and prosecutors said they were opening an investigation into the disaster. As helicopters waited nearby, rescuers with the help of sniffing dogs scrambled to pull people from the rubble, scaling slabs of concrete angled like mountains. "We can't live with infrastructure built in the 1950s and 1960s".

"It's not acceptable that such an important bridge. was not built to avoid this kind of collapse", Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi said on SkyNews24. "The bridge was constantly monitored and supervised well beyond what the law required".

A representative of the motorway's operator, Autostrade, told Reuters there had been "no reason to consider the bridge was dangerous".

Di Mackey, a New Zealander living in Genoa says the community is in shock following the collapse of the bridge.

In a 2016 interview posted online, Antonio Brencich, a University of Genoa professor specialising in reinforced concrete construction, said: "This bridge is usually characterised as a masterpiece of engineering, but in reality, it is a failure of engineering". The motorway it carries is a major artery from northern Italy's industrial centres to the Italian Riviera and to France's southern coast.

The company that operates and maintains the highway, along with many other roads in Italy, said in a statement Tuesday that "stabilization" work was ongoing at time of the collapse.

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

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