GENOA, ITALY (AUGUST 15, 2018) (FIRE BRIGADE) – Rescuers scoured the wreckage of Italy’s bridge collapse on Wednesday (August 15) as the death toll climbed to 37 and the government blamed the bridge’s private owner, demanding resignations and moving to strip its toll concession.
As cranes moved in to shift truck-sized chunks of broken concrete, hundreds of firefighters searched for survivors, while public shock and grief turned to anger over the state of the 1.2 km-long bridge, completed in 1967 and overhauled two years ago.
The 50-year-old bridge, part of a toll motorway linking the port city of Genoa with southern France, collapsed during torrential rain on Tuesday (August 14), sending dozens of vehicles crashing onto a riverbed, a railway and two warehouses.
Fire brigade spokesman Luca Cari said 400 firefighters were at the site, lifting big chunks of concrete to create spaces for rescue teams to check for survivors.
The condition of the bridge, and its ability to sustain large increases in both the intensity and weight of traffic over the years, have been a focus of public debate since Tuesday’s collapse, when an 80-metre span gave way at lunchtime as cars packed with holidaymakers as well as trucks streamed across it.