On Tuesday 14 August a motorway bridge in the Italian city Genoa partially collapsed, killing at least 35 people and injuring 15, said Borrelli, head of the Italian Civil Protection Agency.
Around 11:30am local time (09:30 GMT), the road bridge fell during torrential rain. Police in the area reported a violent cloudburst followed by lightning.
“We saw lightning strike the bridge,” eyewitness Pietro M all’Asa was quoted as saying. “And we saw the bridge going down.”
However, engineers have said it is too early to determine the cause of the collapse but that it was unlikely caused by lightning. It is possible the foundations were already weak, and that the cloudburst worsened a preexisting issue, engineers have said.
— Sergio Battelli (@BattelliSergio) August 14, 2018
Vehicles and debris fell 45 metres (148 feet) onto the rail tracks, buildings and river below. Rescuers have been freeing people caught in the rubble or vehicles, including 5 who were severely injured.
Fears that other parts of the bridge might fall have prompted the evacuation of buildings in the area, a rescuer told Italy’s Ansa news agency.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini promised that anyone found to be responsible for the bridge collapse would be held to account.
“I have crossed that bridge hundreds of times,” he said. “Now, as an Italian citizen, I will do everything to get the names and surnames of the managers responsible, past and present, because it is unacceptable to die like that in Italy.”
— Polizia di Stato (@poliziadistato) August 14, 2018
“It’s not acceptable that such an important bridge… was not built to avoid this kind of collapse,” said Italian Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi in a television interview.