39 dead in Italy bridge collapse; maintenance company blamed

 
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A bridge that abruptly buckled in north Italy has now killed 39 people, authorities said Wednesday as they continued the search for more survivors in the debris.

39 dead in Italy bridge collapse; maintenance company blamed

The Morandi Bridge fell apart Tuesday, sending vehicles plunging onto the ground below and burying some in rubble. The bridge is part of Italy's A10 motorway that runs through Genoa.

Wednesday, Italian transportation minister Danilo Toninelli and Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio blamed the company that operates and maintains the highway.

"Those responsible for the tragedy in Genoa have a name and a surname, and they're called Autostrade per l'Italia," Di Maio said in a Facebook post. "For years, it's been said that private management would be better than that of the state.

"Autostrade had to maintain it but didn't."

Toninelli called for top leaders at the company to resign.

Autostrade per l'Italia said Tuesday "stabilization" work was being done on the bridge when it collapsed.

"The causes of the collapse will be the subject of an in-depth analysis as soon as it is possible to gain safe access to the site," a company statement said.

Rescue efforts lasted through Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, as hundreds of firefighters tried to locate more survivors with lifting gear, climbing equipment and sniffer dogs.

Government officials said of the 39 dead, 37 have been identified. Sixteen are in the hospital, 12 in serious condition.

The Italian government has declared two days of mourning. President Sergio Mattarella said Italians should be guaranteed the right "to modern and efficient infrastructure that accompanies everyday life."

"Now is the time for a common commitment towards dealing with the emergency, assisting the injured and supporting those hit by the pain," he added. "Then a serious investigation into the cause of what happened must follow. No authority can evade an exercise of full responsibility."

Several of the victims have been identified. Roberto Robbiano, 44; Ersilia Piccinino, 41, and their young son Samuela died after their car fell from the bridge. Amateur football player Andrea Cerulli died as he was driving to work and two city environment workers were crushed in a van under the bridge. Other victims were identified as Luigi Matti Altadonna, 35, Juan Carlos Pastenes, 64, and Elisa Bozzo, 34.

BySusan McFarland

Fuente: www.upi.com
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