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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A large bridge of a highway collapses in Genoa, Italy

Por Rory

A section of viaduct in the Italian city of Genoa (northwest) collapsed today and the authorities are looking for victims among vehicles that have fallen into the void and under the rubble, confirmed the Fire Department. The Italian emergency services already speak of “dozens of dead’’. It is the Morandi bridge, 1,182 meters long and a height of 90 meters, and which came down a stretch of two lanes of about one hundred meters in length. It is feared that some vehicles may be under the rubble and the rescue teams employ search dogs. Italian Interior Ministry sources have confirmed to the Rai that there are at least eleven dead and five seriously injured.

The Italian Fire Department has confirmed that the viaduct has collapsed around 12 noon, when heavy rains hit the area. Up to the site, several firefighters have been deployed, accompanied by research teams and canine units, which are in charge of search for victims. A video of the moment of the collapse shows how the Morandi Bridge collapses before the stupefaction of the several witnesses, who observe the unbelieving scene. As one witness explained to Sky Italia television, at the time of the collapse there were "eight or nine" vehicles on the bridge, in what he described as an "apocalyptic scene." The images disseminated by the information agencies show the emergency teams, under heavy rain, removing survivors from the interior of the vehicles buried in the rubble and that have been visibly damaged after the collapse of the structure. The Police reported the collapse and explained that it occurred after "a violent splash of water". The first images emitted by firefighters and Italian media show the viaduct in the fog with several tens of meters collapsed, in an area that seems quite industrial. The Italian newspaper Repubblica details that the emergency telephone has received dozens of calls from people warning of the serious event, which has blocked traffic and left long lines of vehicles.

"We are following the situation minute by minute the collapse of the Genoa bridge, thanks to the immediacy of the 200 firemen (and all the other heroes) who are already working to save lives," Interior Minister Matteo Salvini wrote on Facebook. For his part, the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Danilo Toninelli, wrote on Twitter: "I am following with great apprehension what happened in Genoa and that looms as a terrible tragedy. We are in close contact with Autostrade and we will go to the place with Deputy Minister Rixi, my total proximity at this time to the city. "Autostrade, the operator of the affected highway, has reported that the section that has collapsed was under construction. The Morandi Bridge connects the western area of Genoa with the cities of Savona and Ventimiglia, and passes over a river, residential buildings and several roads. Of 1,182 meters in length and a height of about 90 meters, it was built in the 1960s and in 2016 it underwent a reconstruction. The viaduct runs over an urban area in which there are shopping centers, residential buildings and industrial areas. The Minister of Infrastructure, Danilo Toninelli, continues "with the utmost apprehension" what happened in Genoa that is shaping up, he said on Twitter, as an "immense tragedy".

A warehouse of Amiu, the environmental company of the City of Genoa, has been partially buried by the rubble after falling several meters on the bridge. In the building were located the logistics offices of the municipal company. Several deposits of Ansaldo Energía, one of the main power plants in Italy, have also been affected. The entrance to the plant is just below the viaduct, but the collapse has affected a section located a few meters away, where there was a parking lot that was apparently empty at that time. Although these days the electric company remained closed, several workers were in the place at the time of the collapse. Some vehicles have been hidden among the debris of the viaduct, while others, those of greater tonnage, have ended up in a stream that passed just below the bridge, known as the Polvecera torrent. The Morandi bridge (named after Riccardo Morandi, architect who designed it), was built between 1963 and 1967 by the Italian Society of Pipelines, crosses the districts of Sampierdarena and Cornigliano, measures more than one kilometer and reaches a height of 90 meters . It is one of the main communication hubs of the capital of the province of Liguria, which connects the A10 motorway with the Genoa Ovest tollbooth, from where it reaches the port and ferry terminals.