State funeral being held for Genoa bridge victims as new bodies found

Jeannie Matthews
August 20, 2018

Top executives of Italian toll-road operator Autostrade per l'Italia, which managed a bridge that collapsed in the port city of Genoa this week, voiced profound sadness for the victims on Saturday and said it would set up a fund for their families.

The number of people killed in the collapse of a bridge in Genoa has risen, reaching 43 people, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Saturday.

The Morandi bridge, a reinforced concrete structure that connected Genoa's eastern and western sides, gave way on Tuesday during a thunderstorm, sending more than 30 cars and trucks crashing to the ground from a height of 45 metres.

It said they were three family members, including a nine-year-old girl, who had been travelling for a holiday when their auto, with about 30 other vehicles, plunged when the bridge gave way.

"Officials in Italy say as many as 20 people could still be missing in the rubble of a collapsed bridge in Genoa.

And now, for the umpteenth time, angels have flown into heaven and paid for the mistakes of other human beings", Alessandro said.

Yesterday, thousands of people mourned 18 victims at a mass state funeral held at the Fiera del Mare exhibition centre.

Families of 19 of the dead had their loved ones' coffins brought to a fairgrounds' pavilion for the funeral led by Genoa Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

Autostrade per l'Italia, which runs almost half of Italy's motorway network, has set aside €500m (£448m) to rebuild the structure and aid the port city in its recovery from the disaster.

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On Sunday, RAI state television broadcast excerpts of the report that engineer Riccardo Morandi penned in 1979, 12 years after the bridge bearing his name was inaugurated in Genoa.

On the morning of August 14, a large section of a bridge through which the A10 Genoa-Savona highway passes (European route E80) collapsed.

While key landmarks like Rome's Colosseum switched off their lights in a sign of respect, Italy's top-flight football teams are holding a minute's silence ahead of their opening games of the new Serie A season starting this weekend.

It will also launch a plan next month to make Italy's infrastructure safe, Giancarlo Giorgetti, the undersecretary in the prime minister's office, said in a newspaper interview.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini demanded that the company offer up to 500 million euros to help families and local government deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

The dead also include three Chileans and four French nationals, while 10 people remain in hospital.

The cause of the collapse is still unclear.

The collapse has prompted fears over other aging infrastructure in Italy and overseas.

Atlantia has slammed the threats to revoke its concessions and warned that the government would have to refund the value of the contract, which runs until at least 2038.

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