Mon | Oct 15, 2018

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse

Published:Wednesday | August 15, 2018 | 9:58 AM
Cars and trucks are left on a section of the collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa, northern Italy, Wednesday, August 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Nicola Marfisi)

GENOA, Italy (AP) — Italian prosecutors on Wednesday focused their investigation into the Genoa highway bridge collapse on possible design flaws or inadequate maintenance, as the death toll rose to 39 and Italian politicians looked for someone to blame.

Fears mounted that a part of the Morandi Bridge, which is still standing, could also come crashing down.

That prompted authorities to widen their evacuation to include some 630 people living near the highway bridge that was carved in two by the collapse of its midsection during a violent storm.

On Tuesday, just as many Italians were driving to vacation destinations on the eve of Italy’s biggest summer holiday, a huge stretch of the 51-year-old bridge collapsed, sending over 30 cars and three trucks plunging to the ground as far as 150 feet below.

As this crippled major Mediterranean port city of 600,000 reeled from the tragedy, about 1,000 rescue workers on Wednesday kept searching through tons of broken concrete slabs, smashed vehicles and twisted steel from the bridge for any more bodies.

At least two more were pulled out.

Some of the tons of debris that rained down from the bridge landed in a dry stream bed, while other wreckage came crashing down perilously close to apartment buildings.

At one point, Sky TG24 said, residents were temporarily stopped from even returning to their homes briefly to grab essential documents, medicine or other necessities.

Besides searching through the mountain of debris, emergency workers said it has to be cleared away as soon as possible.

Genoa is a flood-prone city, and authorities warned that the piles in the dry riverbed could become a dam in a matter of hours if heavy rains arrive.

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