A firefighter pulls a suitcase and carries bags as he accompanies residents to get their belongings from their homes, in Genoa, Italy, Thursday Aug. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Italy says death toll will mount in Genoa bridge collapse

Authorities worried about the stability of remaining large sections of a partially collapsed bridge evacuated about 630 people from nearby apartments.

The death toll from the collapse of a highway bridge in the Italian city of Genoa that is already confirmed to have claimed 39 lives will certainly rise, a senior official said Thursday.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told reporters: “Unfortunately, the toll will increase, that’s inevitable.” as searchers continued to comb through tons of jagged steel, concrete and dozens of vehicles that plunged as much as 45 metres (150 feet) into a dry river bed on Tuesday, the eve of Italy’s main summer holiday.

Salvini declined to cite a number of the missing, saying that would be “supposition,” but separately Genoa Chief Prosecutor Francesco Cozzi told reporters there could be between 10 and 20 people still buried under the rubble.

“The search and rescue operations will continue until we find all those people that are listed as missing,” Sonia Noci, a spokeswoman for Genoa firefighters, told The Associated Press.

Italy is planning a state funeral for the dead in the port city Saturday, which will be marked as a day of national mourning. The service will be held in a pavilion on the industrial city’s fair grounds and led by Genoa’s archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has said the collapse is an “absurd” catastrophe that has stricken the entire nation.

At least six of the dead are foreigners — four French citizens and two Albanians.

Authorities say they don’t know how many vehicles were on the bridge when it collapsed in a violent rain storm.

Cozzi has said the investigation of the cause is focusing on possible inadequate maintenance of the 1967 Morandi Bridge or possible design flaws.

Premier Giuseppe Conte says his government won’t wait until prosecutors finish investigating the collapse to withdraw the concession from the main private company that maintains Italy’s highways, Atlantia.

The bridge links two heavily travelled highways, one leading to France, the other to Milan.

A 20 million-euro ($22.7 million) project to upgrade the bridge’s safety had already been approved, with public bids to be submitted by September. According to business daily Il Sole, improvement work would have involved two weight-bearing columns that support the bridge — including one that collapsed Tuesday.

The bridge, considered innovative when it opened in 1967 for its use of concrete around its cables, was long due for an upgrade, especially since it carried more traffic than its designers had envisioned. Some architects have said the choice of encasing its cables in reinforced concrete was risky since it’s harder to detect corrosion of the metal cables inside.

Related: Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

Related: Cars plunge in Italian highway bridge collapse

__

Frances D’Emilio reported from Rome. Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report.

Paolo Santalucia And Frances D’Emilio, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ride For Doug Muscular Dystrophy fundraiser to proceed

It will be shorter and much of it will be online due to COVID-19 restrictions

Abbotsford football star Samwel Uko dies at age 20

Panthers star running back dies on May 21, cause of death not yet known

LETTER: Angels come to aid of elderly couple in distress

In the craziness of the moment, letter writer forgot to get names, and is anxious to say thanks

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

Most Read