The Latest: Italy authorities raise bridge death toll to 26

0
1100
This frame taken from a video released by the Italian firefighters, shows firefighters working on the site of the collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. A large section of the bridge collapsed over an industrial area in the Italian city of Genova during a sudden and violent storm, leaving vehicles crushed in rubble below. (Vigili Del Fuoco via AP)

Milan (AP) — The Latest on the collapse of a bridge in Italy (all times local): 10:15 p.m.

Italian authorities from the region of Liguria have raised to 26 the number of dead in the collapse of a highway bridge in the port city of Genoa.

The region’s updated the death toll late Tuesday on its Twitter feed, saying two more bodies had been extracted and one person had died in surgery. That brings to 15 the number of injured. The city of Genoa’s civil protection office confirmed the updated death toll.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte visited the city and called the collapse “a serious wound for Genoa, Liguria and Italy.”

Milan (AP) — A bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed Tuesday in the Italian port city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 45 meters into a heap of rubble. The city’s mayor said at least 25 people were killed, although some people were found alive in the debris.

A huge section of the Morandi Bridge fell at midday over an industrial zone, sending tons of twisted steel and concrete onto warehouses below. Photos from the Italian news agency ANSA showed a massive gap between two sections of the bridge.

The head of Italy’s civil protection agency, Angelo Borrelli, said 30-35 cars and three heavy trucks were on the 80-meter section of the bridge that collapsed.

Hundreds of firefighters and emergency officials were searching for survivors in the rubble with heavy equipment. Firefighters said at least two people were pulled alive from vehicles and taken by helicopter to a hospital.

Cars are blocked on the Morandi highway bridge after a section of it collapsed, in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Video of the collapse captured a man screaming: “Oh, God! Oh, God!” Other images showed a green truck that had stopped just short of the edge and the tires of a tractor trailer in the rubble.

There was confusion over the exact death toll, which kept rising during the day.

Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci told Sky TG24 that the number of dead was above 25 people and that 11 injured were pulled from the rubble. Two other officials earlier put the death toll at 22 with 13 injured but said it was expected to rise.

Borrelli told a news conference in Rome that all the victims appeared to all have been in vehicles that fell from the bridge.

Rescuers recover an injured person after the Morandi highway bridge collapsed in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

The disaster occurred on a highway that connects Italy to France, and northern cities like Milan to the beaches of Liguria.

The collapse also came on the eve of a major Italian summer holiday on Wednesday called Ferragosto, which marks the religious feast of the Assumption of Mary. It’s the high point of the Italian summer holiday season, when most cities and business are closed and Italians head to the beaches or the mountains. That means traffic could have been heavier than usual on the Genoa highway.

A woman is comforted as cries after the Morandi highway bridge collapsed in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.  (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

The Morandi Bridge is a main thoroughfare connecting the A10 highway that goes toward France and the A7 highway that continues north toward Milan. Inaugurated in 1967, it is just over a kilometer long.

Borrelli said highway engineers were checking other parts of the bridge and that some areas were being evacuated as a precaution. He said they were still trying to figure out the reason for the collapse.

“You can see there are very big portions of the bridge (that collapsed). We need to remove all of the rubble to ascertain that all of the people have been reached,” he said, adding that more than 280 rescue workers and dogs units were on the scene.

“Operations are ongoing to extract people imprisoned below parts of the bridge and twisted metal,” he said.

Borrelli said there was no construction going on at the time on the bridge.

Firefighters told The Associated Press they were worried about gas lines exploding in the area from the collapse.

Cars are blocked on the Morandi highway bridge after a section of it collapsed, in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Transportation Minister Danilo Toninelli called the collapse “an enormous tragedy.”

ANSA said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will travel to Genoa later in the day.

“We are following minute by minute the situation,” Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Twitter.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered his country’s help in a phone call with Conte.

It was the second deadly disaster on an Italian highway in as many weeks.

On Aug. 6, another major accident occurred on an Italian highway near the northern city of Bologna. A tanker truck carrying a highly flammable gas exploded after rear-ending a stopped truck and getting hit from behind. The accident killed one person, injured dozens and blew apart a section of a raised eight-lane highway.

In this photo released by the Italian firefighters, a truck is seen under the partially collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. A bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 90 meters (nearly 300 feet) into a heap of rubble below. (Vigili Del Fuoco via AP)
Rescuers recover victims of the collapse of the Morandi highway bridge, in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. A large section of the bridge collapsed over an industrial area in the Italian cit(Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)
Rescuers work to recover an injured person after the Morandi highway bridge collapsed in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)
Firefighters recover from a car the body of a victim of the Morandi highway bridge collapse, in Genoa, northern Italy, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)