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At least 22 killed in Italian bridge collapse
By Meg Wagner and Luke McGee
Genoa has declared two days of mourning following the collapse of the Morandi bridge on Tuesday.
Flags will fly at half-staff on municipal buildings on Aug. 15 and 16.
Residents are also invited to express their condolences and support for the victims and their families, the Genoa's mayor’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.
Search and rescue operations at the site of the Morandi bridge collapse in Genoa will continue for days, according to an engineer with Italy’s fire department.
"Our work will continue for days," Emanuele Gissi told Italian state broadcaster RAI News 24 during a televised interview.
Gissi also said several people are still missing, based on the number of vehicles on the bridge when it collapsed. He wouldn’t say how many people they were looking for.
A spokesperson for Italy’s civil protection agency told CNN on Tuesday that there were between 25 and 30 cars on the bridge when it collapsed, as well as three to four trucks.
Search and rescue operations will continue through the night, the spokesperson said.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says 22 people have been confirmed dead in the Genoa bridge collapse. He added that 16 people were injured, nine of them in serious condition.
This is a lower death toll than previously reported: Earlier on Tuesday, the office of the governor of the northwestern Liguria region — where Genoa is located — had said on its official twitter account that the death toll had climbed to 35.
Conte called the collapse of a bridge near Genoa “an incredible tragedy" as he spoke to journalists at the site of the collapse.
When asked what could have caused the collapse, Conte said authorities were looking at possible “structural failure."
It is currently unclear why a section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed. But here's what do we know about structure:
- It's a highway bridge: The section of the A10 highway affected crosses over several roads, railway tracks, shopping centers, homes and the Polcevera river.
- It's a major thoroughfare: It links central Genoa with Genoa airport and towns along the coast to the west of the city.
- It's long (and tall): The cable-stayed bridge had a total length of 1.1 kilometers and is 100 meters tall at its highest point.
- It's 50 years old: The bridge, also known as the Polcevera Viaduct, was designed by Italian civil engineer Riccardo Morandi and completed in 1968.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called the bridge collapse near Genoa a "tragic event" and offered her thoughts to the people of Italy.
Here's the tweet from the 10 Downing Street account:
Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci tells CNN that that the bridge collapse in the city was “not absolutely unexpected."
“[It’s a] very bad time with the collapsing of the bridge which was not absolutely unexpected. But we don’t know the reason,” he said.
When asked if he knew what had caused the bridge to collapse — or if he knew if the bridge was undergoing repair work — Mayor Bucci said he wasn’t sure.
“It’s not my job to [know] that,” he said. “My job is to think about the future and work for the future of the city”.
He added: “My role as the mayor is to make sure we have the correct infrastructure for the city and make sure that from the government we get the right amount of money in order to be able to set up the new infrastructure as soon as possible."
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has arrived at the scene of the bridge collapse in Genoa.
Conte is expected to stay in Genoa at least until tomorrow to show the Italian government’s support for the victims and their families, according to a statement from his office.
Luca Cari, spokesman for the fire service, told Italian news agency Rai that rescuers were searching for people underneath the rubble as if it were an earthquake.
Canine search-and-rescue units were deployed by the Italian Red Cross to look for victims beneath the debris, while other Red Cross teams were sent out in police boats to search for people potentially stranded in the estuary of the Polcevera River.
Giorgio Larosa posted a video on Instagram showing rescuers working in heavy rain to free people from crushed vehicles in a grassy area below the viaduct.