Death toll in Genoa bridge collapse rises to 35

Dozens die after Italian bridge collapses, Latest World News

Highway bridge gives way in Italy, killing at least 35

Sources in the interior ministry told Italian media that 16 people were wounded, including 12 in serious condition.

- Italian emergency workers pulled two more bodies out of tons of broken concrete and twisted steel Wednesday after a highway bridge collapsed in Genoa, raising the death toll in the disaster to at least 39 people.

State radio Wednesday quoted the prefect's office confirming a death toll of 35 and denying some news reports that put it at 38.

A 50-metre-high section of the Morandi bridge, including a tower that anchored several stays, crashed down with as many as 35 vehicles driving on it on Tuesday.

Rescuers scoured through the wreckage, strewn among shrubland and train tracks, as rescue helicopters winched survivors on stretchers from the ruined bridge.

Eye-witness Ivan, 37, evacuated on Tuesday from the nearby building where he works, described the collapse as unbelievable.

"I heard a noise and saw that the road was collapsing and it scared me a lot", the 33-year-old revealed afterwards.

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Genoa's Mayor Marco Bucci told CNN that the bridge collapse was "not absolutely unexpected", but said that he didn't know the reason as to why, nor was he aware of the renovations.

The government has already pledged to increase public investment and lobby the European Commission to have the extra spending excluded from EU deficit calculations.

Italian politicians, for their part, were trying to find who to blame for the deadly tragedy.

"If they are not able manage our highways, the state will do it", Toninelli said.

He added that a safety audit will be carried out on ageing bridges and tunnels across the country.

The collapse came as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work and as the Liguria region, where Genoa is situated, experienced torrential rainfall. "We can't live with infrastructures built in the 1950s and 1960s".

Bridge operator Autostrade, a unit of Milan-listed Atlantia group, said it had carried out regular, sophisticated checks on the structure before the disaster and that these had provided reassuring results.

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"The collapse was unexpected and unpredictable".

The bridge spans a three-quarter-mile section of the coastal city and carries highway traffic between Italy and France.

Many in the city had said the 1967 bridge needed shoring up.

In a statement late on Tuesday, Autostrade said it's "fully committed to evaluate the best solutions to rebuild the viaduct in the quickest possible time in a secure and efficient way".

In a 2016 interview posted online, Antonio Brencich, a University of Genoa professor specialising in reinforced concrete construction, said: "This bridge is usually characterised as a masterpiece of engineering, but in reality it is a failure of engineering". "The increasing number of collapses we are seeing in recent years is likely to worsen as deterioration, and inspection and maintenance programs continue to have their budgets reduced".

A crushed truck is seen at the collapsed Morandi Bridge site in the port city of Genoa, Italy.

Autostrade said work to reinforce the slab under the road surface was going on at the time of the collapse.

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The collapse of what has now been dubbed "the bridge of death" in Italy left a gaping hole in the heart of this city - and many unanswered questions about whether the structure, which local residents say was under a constant state of fix, was still fit for goal half a century after it was built.

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