'Dozens Dead' in Italy after Huge Section of Genoa Motorway Bridge Collapses
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Dozens of people are reported to have been killed after a large section of Motorway Bridge collapsed onto houses in the northern port city of Genoa.
The head of the local ambulance service said there were "dozens of dead", Italian news agency Adnkronos reported. However, Maria Luisa Catalano of the highway police in Genoa said work was ongoing, adding, "We don't know numbers of victims/injured yet."
Danilo Toninelli, the Transport Minister, said in a tweet that he was "following with great apprehension what seems like an immense tragedy".
Up to 100 yards of the motorway collapsed at around 11:30am (9.30am GMT) during torrential rainfall after Genoa was hit by a strong thunderstorm, The Telegraph reported.
"The debris from the collapse came to within 20 meters of my car," said a witness, Davide Ricci, who saw the bridge go down while he was driving.
"First the central pylon crumbled, then the whole thing came down."
Another witness told Sky Italia television he saw "eight or nine" vehicles on the bridge when it collapsed in what he said was an "apocalyptic scene".
The first injured have been extracted from the rubble and taken to hospital, according to Italian media reports.
Italian news agency ANSA said one person had been extracted alive from and was being transported by helicopter to a hospital.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said some 200 firefighters were responding to the accident.
"We are following minute by minute the situation for the bridge collapse in Genoa," Salvini said on Twitter.
A video has emerged on Facebook of the moment the bridge collapsed, with a witness saying "Oh my God, oh my God."
The fire service said it was feared that cars that were on the motorway had plummeted when it suddenly gave way.
Italian television showed images of the collapsed bridge, which was built on the A10 toll motorway in the 1960s.
Restructuring work on the bridge was carried out in 2016.
The disaster occurred on a highway that connects Italy to France and other vacation resorts on the eve of a major Italian holiday on Wednesday, Ferragosto, and traffic would have been heavier than usual as many Italians traveled to beaches or mountains.