Death toll rises to 35 in Italy bridge collapse

A view of the Morandi motorway bridge after a section collapsed

"We hope to find more people alive".

" Says that bridges like the Morandi viaduct should have a lifespan of at least a century, but the structure has been the subject of major maintenance work in the years after its completion, in particular to fix cracks and combat degradation of the concrete".

"We should ask ourselves whether respecting these limits is more important than the safety of Italian citizens", he said.

Salvini, who is also the interior minister, said some 200 firefighters were responding to the accident. And if there's no easy way to inspect them, "it's a high risk system", Agrawal said.

Davide Capello, a former Cagliari goalkeeper, now firefighter, plummeted to the ground inside his vehicle when the bridge collapsed the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Notwithstanding the importance of a road that sees 25 million vehicles pass along it every year, the demolition of the bridge was being studied as far back as 2009. "It was really an apocalyptic scene, I couldn't believe my eyes", he said.

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Helicopter footage on social media showed trucks and cars stranded on either side of the 80-metre long collapsed section of the Morandi Bridge, built on the A10 toll motorway in the late 1960s.

At least 37 people were killed, when a section of the 1,100-meter (3,600-foot) long viaduct gave way following heavy rain around midday on Tuesday.

Italian media reported that Samuele's toys, including a Spiderman football, were found inside the wreckage of the family's auto.

"People living in Genoa use this bridge twice a day", said Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi, who is from the city.

Ponte Morandi, built in the 1960s, was undergoing repairs when the tragedy happened.

The exact cause of the collapse was not yet clear, but transport minister Danilo Toninelli said the "immense tragedy" showed the dilapidated state of the country's infrastructure and a lack of vital maintenance, adding that "those responsible will have to pay".

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"The top management of Autostrade per l'Italia must step down first of all", Toninelli said in a Facebook post. "The bridge was constantly monitored and supervised well beyond what the law required", Stefano Marigliani, the Autostrade official responsible for the Genoa area, told Reuters.

The 1967 bridge, considered innovative in its time for its use of concrete around its cables, had always been due for an upgrade, especially since the structure saw more heavy traffic than its designers had envisioned.

The design of the bridge has been criticized in the past.

Photos published by ANSA on its website showed a huge gulf between two sections of the bridge. Antonio Brencich, a professor specializing in reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa, called the span "a failure of engineering" in an interview in 2016. The motorway is a major artery to the Italian Riviera and to France's southern coast.

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

Rescuers worked through the night to account for all of the victims of Tuesday's Morandi Bridge disaster in Genoa, as Italy's President called for a "serious and severe examination" into why the bridge suddenly collapsed.

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