New car found in rubble of collapsed Genoa bridge - authorities

Mae Love
August 18, 2018

Italy's populist government intensified its attacks on Thursday on the bridge operator it blames for the viaduct collapse that killed dozens of people in Genoa, as rescuers picked through rubble on the third day of desperate efforts to find survivors.

The collapse of the Morandi bridge, a decades-old viaduct that crumbled in a storm on Tuesday killing at least 38 people, has stunned and angered the country, with Italian media reporting that some outraged families would shun Saturday's official ceremonies. As many as 20 people are still unaccounted for, Genoa's chief prosecutor said.

Others opted for private funerals, including one a day earlier for four friends, young men in their 20s, from the southern town of Torre del Greco.

Capello was at the midpoint of the bridge, he recounted Friday, when "everything, the world, came down".

Shares in the parent company of Autostrade per l'Italia, which runs the highway plunged more than 30 per cent in the days after the collapse, but were recovering slightly on Friday as investors said government threats to revoke its concessions might be political rhetoric rather than a likely outcome.

One survivor, whose vehicle plunged from the bridge to the bottom along with falling sections of highway, told the Associated Press how as a trained firefighter he immediately understood that the structure had collapsed when the road dropped out from under him.

A study by engineers at Milan's Politecnico university, in November 2017, said the stays holding up the section of the bridge that later collapsed reacted to vibration "in a way that does not entirely conform with expectations and requires further investigation".

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The 33-year-old said: "I heard a noise, a tiresome noise".

After coming to a halt, he used the touch screen phone in the auto to call his colleagues at the Savona dispatch center, who sent help. He then called his girlfriend and his father, a retired firefighter, who told him to get out of the auto immediately for fear that it would destabilize or something heavy would fall on top of it.

He said the car's windows wouldn't budge, nor would its doors.

A survivor who escaped without serious injury, despite his vehicle plummeting through the air, said there was an "unreal silence" after it happened.

Rescue workers then helped him climb down from the rubble.

The search is focusing around the ruins of a pillar that collapsed on the left bank of the Polvecera creek, and on a stretch of road that fell over rail tracks, the ANSA news agency said. "A auto in front of me disappeared into the darkness", he said. "I don't know if anyone else managed to. Besides God, the auto also did its job", he said.

Civil protection department officials said on Friday there might only be five people missing, but the exact number was fluctuating. Hundreds of residents in those buildings have been evacuated - and there is no guarantee they will ever return to those homes.

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