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At Least 20 Feared Dead in Italy After Massive Bridge Collapses

2018-08-14 16:10
A large section of a highway bridge has collapsed over the northern Italian city of Genoa, crushing vehicles and sending dozens plummeting towards the ground. Italy’s transport minister called it "an immense tragedy." The head of Italy's civil protection agency Angelo Borrelli said the disaster has so far claimed 20 lives and left 13 injured, the Associated Press reported. Fire crews said that there would likely be a large number of casualties in the aftermath of the 11:30am (local time) collapse. Eyewitnesses told ANSA that they saw lightning strike the bridge before a large section toppled, during a torrential downpour of rain. “It was just after 11:30 when we saw the lightning bolt hit the bridge and we saw the bridge go down,” Pietro M. said, according to the report. In footage shared by the national police, a man can be heard screaming “Oh God! Oh God!” as a section of the bridge collapses. Rescue sources told ANSA of a number of crushed vehicles trapped under the rubble with dead victims still inside. Crews managed to pull two survivors from the wreckage. Police said that several transport trucks fell into the Polvecera river, according to ANSA. The head of the local ambulance service said there were "dozens of dead",  the Italian news agency Adnkronos reported, with about 20 vehicles involved in the disaster. A witness told Sky Italia television station he saw "eight or nine" vehicles on the bridge when it collapsed in what he described as an "apocalyptic scene". Broadcaster Sky TG24 reported that the 200-meter (660-foot) section fell over an industrial zone. The Associated Press cited fire crews as saying there are concerns about potentially ruptured gas lines. Italian television showed images of the collapsed Morandi overpass, which was built on the A10 toll motorway in the 1960s. The motorway connects Italy to France and other vacation resorts. Since the collapse occurred on the eve of a major Italian holiday on Wednesday, traffic would have been heavier than usual. The 330-foot tall bridge runs over homes, shopping centers, factories, a railway line and a river, according to reports.