Genoa bridge collapse: Families demand answers as ministers call for resignations

The Italian transport minister has pledged to remove the licence of the company that operates the collapsed Genoa motorway bridge as questions begin to mount about who is responsible for the tragic event in the city of Genoa.

The minister’s calls come just a day after a long section of the Morandi Bridge crumbled leaving at least 39 people dead, according to officials. The collapse happened yesterday (14 August) around 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT) with about 30 vehicles and a few heavy-duty trucks believed to be involved.

Rescuers on mass have been at the scene overnight in the faint hope of finding survivors after dozens of vehicles fell 45m (148ft). Hundreds have been evacuated amid fears other parts of the bridge might fall. 

There is a feeling that despair is starting to turn into anger within the north-west Italian city as those affected, the general public and politicians strive for answers on why it happened. Transport minister Danilo Toninelli has been at the heart of the response and demanded that senior bosses resign at Autostrade per L'Italia, which oversees maintenance of the bridge. 

Speaking to Italian television, Toninelli, said: “I have given mandate to my ministry to start all proceedings to apply the agreement, that is to revoke the concession from these companies and seek significant sanctions.”

Morandi Bridge before its collapse in 2015

In a post on Facebook, the country’s deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, also said that those responsible “have a name and a surname, and they’re called Autostrade per l’Italia”. He added: “Autostrade had to maintain it but didn’t. It takes the highest road tolls in Europe and pays low taxes, moreover in Luxembourg.”

Since the tragic incident, the company has alarmingly confirmed that foundation work was being carried out at the time but insisted that monitoring work had continued to be undertaken on a quarterly basis, as required by the law.

While the cause of the collapse is yet to be confirmed, authorities in the country initially said they believed that a violent storm caused the structure to give way. The section of the A10 highway affected crosses over several roads, railway tracks, shopping centres, homes and the Polcevera river between the districts of Sampierdarena and Cornigliano.

A criminal inquiry has been launched by the Genoa Public Prosecutor's Office with the investigation to look into possible negligent homicide. 

Three children are said to be among the 39 fatalities along with a family of three who were travelling along the Morandi bridge by car at the time. They have been named as Roberto Robbiano, Ersilia Piccinino, and their young son Samuel. Another 16 people are being treated in hospital, 12 of them reported to be in a serious condition.

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