Rome: At least 22 persons were killed after a motorway bridge collapsed due to heavy rains over the northern Italian port city of Genoa leaving the eyewitnesses aghast with the ‘apocalyptic scene’ on Tuesday.
A section of the bridge crashed down from a height of about 50 metres over a river and some railroad tracks and buildings. It collapsed at about 11:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) during torrential rainfall, the local fire brigade said.
Aerial view of the mishap site showed trucks and cars stranded on either side of the roughly 80-metre long collapsed section of the bridge, which was built on the A10 toll motorway in the 1960s.
Restructuring work on the bridge, which was 1.2 km long in total, was carried out in 2016. The highway operator said work to shore up the foundation of the bridge was being carried out at the time of the collapse, adding that the bridge was constantly monitored.
The highway is a major artery to the Italian Riviera and to France’s southern coast. Train services around Genoa have been halted.
Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said in a tweet that he was “following with great apprehension what seems like an immense tragedy”.
The office of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he was heading to Genoa in the evening and would remain there on Wednesday. Defence minister Elisabetta Trenta said the army was ready to offer manpower and vehicles to help with the rescue operations.
Shares in Atlantia, the toll road operator which runs the motorway, were suspended after falling 6.3 percent after news of the collapse.