Rescuers search rubble for survivors after deadly Genoa bridge collapse

The Morandi Bridge (AP) Credit: AP/Press Association Images

Rescuers in Italy are searching through tonnes of rubble for survivors after a bridge collapse in Genoa which killed at least 37 people.

Dozens of cars and three trucks plunged as much as 150ft after a section of the Morandi Bridge fell in the north-western Italian city.

Many Italian families were on the roads ahead of Wednesday’s Ferragosto holiday.

Interior minister Matteo Salvini said three children were among the dead.

Rescuers are continuing to search through tonnes of concrete slabs and steel for survivors or bodies.

Investigators are also working to determine what caused a 260ft long stretch of highway to break off from the 150ft high bridge in the port city.

The 1967 bridge, considered innovative in its time for its use of concrete around its cables, had long been due for an upgrade, especially since the structure saw more heavy traffic than its designers had envisioned.

While the collapse’s cause is yet to be determined, political bickering has moved into high gear.

Italy’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, Danilo Toninelli, from the populist 5-Star Movement, threatened in a Facebook post that the state, if necessary, would take direct control of the highways agency if it could not properly care for roads and bridges.

An aerial view of the scene in Genoa Credit: Vigili Del Fuoco/AP

In 2013, some 5-Star MPs had questioned the wisdom of an ambitious and expensive infrastructure overhaul programme as possibly wasteful, according to reports, but a post about that on the Movement’s site was removed on Tuesday after the bridge’s collapse.

Within hours after the collapse, Mr Salvini was vowing not to let European Union spending strictures on Italy, which is laden with public debt, stop any effort to make the country’s infrastructure safe.

Genoa is a flood-prone city, and officials have warned that the debris from the collapse must be removed as soon as possible.

Some of the wreckage landed in a dry riverbed that could flood when the rainy season resumes in a few weeks.