Italy bridge: Rescuers search for survivors in Genoa
Rescuers in the northwest Italian city of Genoa continue to search for possible survivors after the dramatic collapse of a motorway bridge.
Police say at least 26 people were killed and 15 badly hurt, when dozens of vehicles fell 45m (148ft).
Reports say cries can be heard from people trapped in the debris. Twelve people are said to be missing.
Some 300 firefighters from across Italy have been using sniffer dogs and climbing gear in the search.
“We’re not giving up hope,” fire official Emanuele Giffi told AFP, vowing teams would work “round the clock until the last victim is secured”.
Hundreds of people were evacuated amid fears other parts of the bridge might fall.
The cause of the disaster, which occurred during torrential rain, was not immediately clear but questions had been raised about the safety of the structure.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has vowed to bring anyone responsible for the collapse to book.
The Morandi Bridge, built in the 1960s, stands on the A10 toll motorway, an important conduit for goods traffic from local ports, which also serves the Italian Riviera and southern coast of France.
What is the challenge facing rescuers?
“We are continuing with the rescue operations because we think there are other people alive under the rubble,” Genoa police spokesperson Alessandra Bucci told Reuters news agency.
Rescuers from all across northern Italy were at work on the debris.
The Italian fire service tweeted a video of one person being extracted and carefully lowered on cables from a shattered vehicle, which was suspended in the wreckage of the bridge, high above the ground.
Between 30 and 35 cars and three heavy vehicles were on the bridge at the time of the collapse.
A huge tower and sections of the bridge collapsed on to railway lines, a river and a warehouse. Reports suggest that nobody was killed on the ground, although some people were injured.
Marcello de Angelis, who is co-ordinating the Italian Red Cross rescue effort, told the BBC that rescuers were treating the disaster like an earthquake.
“There might be the possibility of some niches being created by the rubble itself, with people being protected by the rubble,” he said.
“The units that we have sent are the units that we use during earthquakes. So it is the same sort of situation – and also the risk of other collapses, obviously, is the same.” (BBC)