Bridge collapses in northern Italy; at least 22 dead

A bridge in northern Italy collapsed Tuesday and killed at least 22 people, officials said, and the toll could be even higher as rescuers are searching through debris for survivors.

A large section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed in Genoa, Italy, Tuesday -- killing at least 22 people and burying some people in debris, officials said. Photo by Luca Zennaro/EPA-EFE
A large section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed in Genoa, Italy, Tuesday — killing at least 22 people and burying some people in debris, officials said. Photo by Luca Zennaro/EPA-EFE

The Morandi Bridge, part of the A10 motorway in northern Italian city of Genoa linking Italy to France, partly collapsed in heavy rain. Italy’s Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi said he expects the final death toll will be greater.

“We have received the full support of nearby regions Lombardy and Piedmont, all their hospitals are available to us,” Franceso Bermano, emergency management services director for the region, said.

The number of injuries and full death toll wasn’t immediately clear. Firefighters and canine units have been activated, authorities said.

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“Firefighters together with the sanitary workers are pulling out patients, someone has already arrived in the hospital,” Bermano added. “We are working but at this moment we do not yet have the full size of the problem.”

A violent storm Tuesday morning preceded the collapse and is being considered as a cause.

Lawmaker Sergio Battelli posted a video of the scene online. In a tweet, he called it “a tragedy of immense proportions.”

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“We are following minute-by-minute the situation of the collapse of the Genoa bridge, I thank the 200 Firemen (and all the other heroes) who are already working to save lives,” Italian interior minister Matt Salvini tweeted.

The bridge, built in the 1960s, is also called the “Brooklyn Bridge” due to its resemblance to the famous New York City landmark. It’s about 150 feet tall and 3,877 feet long.

French President Emmanuel Macron said his country is ready to send help.

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“Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and all the Italian people,” Macron tweeted. “France is on the side of Italy in this tragedy and stands ready to provide all the necessary support.”

BySommer Brokaw