Italy bridge collapse death toll climbs to 42 as country mourns

The death toll in Tuesday’s bridge collapse in north Italy rose to 42 on Saturday — a national day of mourning over the tragedy.

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A man and family of three were found dead overnight, raising the death toll from the bridge collapse Tuesday to 42, local media reported.

The Morandi Bridge, part of the A10 motorway in the Italian city of Genoa, fell apart during a heavy rain storm Tuesday, sending vehicles plunging to the ground below and burying some in rubble.

Authorities said no one else is believed to be missing at this point.

The collapse of the bridge has led to controversy over the nation’s infrastructure, as some blame the state for the bridge’s poor design and maintenance. Some families chose to stay home from a state funeral on Saturday for 18 victims out of anger at the government.

Still, thousands of people attended the state funeral, and applause broke out as rescuers and Civil Defense Department members arrived to take part in it.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella led the ceremony along with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Some family members chose to bury the dead in their own towns instead of the state funeral service.

“Many do not want to take part in a showcase and I understand them,” Father Mauro Brezzo, chaplain of Genoa’s San Martino hospital, told ANSA. “In general anger is prevailing [among people] . . The relatives of the victims, on the other hand, are in tears and in silence … They are going through the drama.”

Italian transportation minister Danilo Toninelli and Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio have blamed the company, Autostrade per l’Itali, which operates and maintains the highway, for the collapse.

“Those responsible for the tragedy in Genoa have a name and a surname, and they’re called Autostrade per l’Italia,” Di Maio said in a Facebook post. “Autostrade had to maintain it but didn’t.”

Autostrade per l’Italia denies the accusations and said it has fulfilled its duties as required, adding that “stabilization” work was being done on the bridge when it collapsed.

The cause of the collapse is still unclear.

Conte said Friday legal proceedings were underway to strip the company of its contracts. It has 15 days to counter arguments.

The company “had the obligation to look after the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of the motorway” and had failed to do so, Conte’s statement said.

Conte added that in the future the government would force companies that were granted concession for Italy’s infrastructure to invest more profits in maintenance and safety.

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.

By Sommer Brokaw