Italian motorway operators’ shares plummet after deadly bridge collapse

Italy road collapse

Between 10 and 20 people may still be missing, Genoa Chief Prosecutor Francesco Cozzi said today, according to Italian news agency, Ansa.

Rescuers searched overnight for survivors through tons of concrete and steel under the shattered structure of the Morandi Bridge.

Bankers and analysts said Atlantia was less likely to bid for major projects overseas given the threat of punitive government measures against its Autostrade unit.

Photos taken before the bridge caved in appear to show spot repairs to the concrete, but engineers said the cause of the collapse was likely to be structural.

Autostrade per l'Italia, part of the Milan-listed Atlantia group, said it complied with all its maintenance requirements and made regular safety checks on the bridge.

"Autostrade should have done maintenance and didn't do it", he alleged.

State radio reported Wednesday that some 5-Star lawmakers in 2013 had questioned the wisdom of an ambitious, expensive infrastructure overhaul program as possibly wasteful, but that a post about that on the Movement's site was removed Tuesday after the bridge's collapse. "We've already saved a dozen people from under the rubble", said rescue official Emanuele Giffi.

Lisa said: "We tried to reverse and we couldn't go anywhere and the auto in front hit the front of our vehicle and people were running, screaming in Italian, "Run, out, everyone out, cars".

"We can not know if there are survivors remaining, but it's our job to search".

View of the buildings (top) that were evacuated in the area around the collapsed bridge on Wednesday.

Carole Delga, president of the Occitanie region, said: "We are in contact with the Italian authorities to determine if there could be other French nationals among the victims".

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Mr Toninelli said anybody found to be responsible for the tragedy would "have to pay", a sentiment echoed by other members of the government.

Salvini said Wednesday that the Fire Brigade had extracted the final body after working through the night.

One of the most compelling testimonies came from Davide Capello, 33, a former goalkeeper for Serie A side Cagliari.

"I was driving along the bridge, and at a certain point I saw the road in front of me collapse, and I went down with the auto", Davide Capello told TV news channel Sky TG24.

In December 2012, the Genoa city council discussed the state of the bridge at a public hearing into how to expand the local transport infrastructure. Its rugged terrain means that motorways that run through the city and the surrounding area are characterised by long viaducts and tunnels.

The Morandi viaduct, completed in 1967, spans dozens of railway lines as well as an industrial zone and acts as the flyover of the busy A10 motorway, which links the Italian Riviera and the south of France.

One construction expert, Antonio Brencich at the University of Genoa, had previously called the bridge "a failure of engineering". "I express my spiritual closeness to their families, to the injured, to the displaced, and to all those who suffer as a result of this dramatic event", the pontiff said Wednesday.

"When I heard it had collapsed, I wasn't surprised". Some of the wreckage landed in a dry riverbed that could flood when the rainy season resumes in a few weeks. The cause of the collapse is not yet known, but many residents are calling on the head of the company that operated the bridge to resign.

The firm, which said the bridge had been undergoing maintenance work, however, released a statement refuting accusations of underfunding of motorway infrastructure. "Everyone from Genoa crossed the bridge. It could have happened to anyone", he added.

Disturbing images have emerged of the doomed Italian bridge appearing to crumble well before the tragedy that killed at least 39 people. I don't know when'.

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