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Search for survivors after Italian motorway collapse kills at least 26

The collapsed Morandi Bridge is seen in the Italian port city of Genoa The collapsed Morandi Bridge is seen in the Italian port city of Genoa
Deanna Wagner | 15 August, 2018, 09:52

At least 35 people were killed when a bridge collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa, police said on Wednesday after firemen worked through the night looking for any survivors buried under the rubble.

This footage was shared by Italy's national fire service, Vigili del Fuoco, and shows firefighters and Italian State Police pulling people from crushed vehicles.

A large section of the Morandi viaduct upon which the A10 motorway runs collapsed in Genoa, Italy, on August 14, 2018.

It was unclear what had caused the collapse, but the event raised questions among some Italian government officials about maintenance of their country's infrastructure - a common concern in developed countries, where numerous major roadways were built decades ago.

The official death toll was given as 22 on Tuesday evening by the Governor of Liguria region, Giovanni Toti, but he warned the number would "certainly rise significantly". He said they were still trying to figure out the cause of the collapse.

"We are following minute by minute the situation for the bridge collapse in Genoa", Salvini said on Twitter.

Questions remain about what caused the devastating collapse of the Morandi Bridge, although some early speculation pointed to structural weakness.

A picture taken on 14 August 2018 in Genoa shows a view of the Ponte Morandi motorway bridge after one of its section collapsed injuring several people. "We hope to find more people alive".

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"It's not acceptable that such an important bridge. was not built to avoid this kind of collapse", Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi said on SkyNews24, speaking from Genoa.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said that the collapse means that the country must put public works spending before concern about deficit spending limits.

"They will have to pay, pay for everything, and pay a lot", he said.

Autostrade, a unit of the infrastructure group Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, manages the section of the toll highway that collapsed.

Borrelli told a news conference in Rome that all the victims appeared to all have been in vehicles that fell from the bridge. "It seemed like a scene from a film, it was the apocalypse", the shaken 33-year-old added. The bridge was constantly monitored, even more than was foreseen by the law.

The design of the bridge has been criticized in the past. "But there will be a time when the cost of maintenance will be higher than a replacement", he told Italian media Primocanale.

In a 2016 interview posted online, Antonio Brencich, a professor specialising in reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa, said "this bridge is usually characterised as a masterpiece of engineering, but in reality it is a failure of engineering".

Autostrade said work to shore up the road foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse. Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta said the army was ready to offer manpower and vehicles to help with the rescue operations.