Five people still missing after Genoa bridge collapse

18 August, 2018, 09:43 | Author: Regina Silva
  • File Firefighters discovered three bodies overnight inside a car extracted from the rubble

Autostrade has 15 days to respond to the letter.

A government source separately suggested Italy may impose a fine rather than withdraw Autostrade's concession as the latter could involve a long legal fight and risk the government being ordered to pay compensation to the company.

Rome - Italian authorities have removed the vehicles abandoned on the surviving part of Genoa's collapsed Morandi bridge, including a green truck that managed to stop just before plunging into the void.

Atlantia is controlled by the holding company for the Benetton family, famous for its clothing empire.

The government has accused infrastructure giant Autostrade per L'Italia of failing to invest in sufficient maintenance - a claim the company denies - and said it would seek to revoke its lucrative contracts.

The search is focusing around the ruins of a pillar that collapsed on the left bank of the Polvecera creek, and on a stretch of road that fell over rail tracks, the ANSA news agency said.

An engineering study commissioned by Autostrade a year ago warned about the condition of the stays, said Carmelo Gentile, a professor from Milan's Polytechnic university who was on the team that carried it out.

Antonio Brencich, a University of Genoa lecturer, said there were "eyewitness accounts and videos that go in this direction". On Friday, he said the failure of a cable stay could have been behind the collapse.

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Experts said the bridge had problems soon after it was completed in 1967 and some of the stays were reinforced in the 1990s. It had no immediate comment on Friday's news reports.

With Genoa's chief prosecutor saying that between 10 and 20 people could still be missing under the huge piles of concrete, rescue workers clambered across the rubble hoping to find survivors.

Fire engines were called to the site of the collapsed bridge in Genoa early Friday morning after smoke could be seen rising nearby. He then called his girlfriend and his father, a retired firefighter, who told him to get out of the auto immediately for fear that it would destabilize or something heavy would fall on top of it. "Then the earth-moving equipment moves in to create an opening from where the dogs enter", said Zanut, one of some 340 firefighters working shifts at the scene since Tuesday.

A state of emergency has since been declared, as rescuers continue to look for survivors, while Saturday has been declared a national day of mourning, on which funerals of numerous victims are set to be held.

On Friday, grieving relatives gathered at the hall in Genoa where rows of coffins were laid out for Saturday's state funeral. One white coffin held the body of seven-year-old Samuele Robbiano, who died alongside his parents.

Victims of the Morandi Bridge disaster lie in coffins at the Fiera di Genova exhibition centre on August 17, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.

Some families plan to boycott the event and hold their own private services, as a sign of protest against what they say was negligence that caused the bridge to collapse.

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