Rescue teams continue search for Italy bridge collapse survivors

The company managing the bridge that collapsed in northern Italy on Tuesday is now bearing the fallout from politicians and share traders alike.

Top managers of Autostrade were reportedly resisting government calls to resign Wednesday as the road operator stressed that it was investing more than €1 billion ($1.14 billion) a year on safety, maintenance and upgrading. Shares in the company have since fallen by around 22%.

A day after the sudden collapse of a section of highway bridge in Genoa, Italy, shock has given way to anger and blame as the number of people killed, including several children, climbs to 39.

What are the political threats?

The official's comments contrast with those of Italian Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio, who indicated in a radio interview earlier on Thursday that Autostrade faces losing its concession without compensation.

Salvini said that he would investigate and find out who was responsible for the collapse, because "it's not possible that in 2018 you can work and die in these conditions".

Mr Salvini also accused the European Union of limiting the chance of Italy of spending money on maintenance works.

On Tuesday specialist engineering website "Ingegneri.info" published a piece that highlighted longstanding concerns over the bridge, calling it "a tragedy waiting to happen". "Autostrade should've carried out maintenance and didn't".

The Genoa bridge, along with the two similar bridges in Libya and Venezuela, have deteriorated at "unimaginable speeds", Brencich told Sky News Italian television station Wednesday.

Autostrade per l'Italia insists it has performed according to its contract and the law.

Autostrade said it had relied on world-leading experts when making tests and carrying out inspections on the bridge and that these checks had provided reassuring results.

Speaking in Genoa, Mr Di Maio said he was looking at revoking highway concessions.

The truck driver was seconds away from falling off the edge
The truck driver was seconds away from falling off the edge

And on the stock market?

Atlantia had already lost 5.4% of its value on Tuesday.

A recent report from the minister of Transport - undertaken before the Italy disaster - suggested that of 12,000 bridges in France, nearly a third could benefit from fix work. He said any broken cables would have to be examined to determine whether that was the case in the Morandi bridge.

Italy's Atlantia and other toll road operators faced a sharp sell-off on Thursday.

What's the latest from the scene?

TV images showed rescue workers looking for other people under the rubble over six hours after the bridge crumbled. But he said older bridges can often be sustained with maintenance and repairs - and collapses are rare.

Montefusco, who grew up in Genoa, added: "It [the bridge] was a sort of jewel in Italian engineering, because at that time it was built with new engineering techniques".

Authorities said at least 30 cars and three heavy vehicles were on the 80-metre (260ft) section of the span when it came down in an industrial area filled with warehouses.

Majority were Italians, but the French Foreign Ministry said four of its nationals had also died.

The Italian Cabinet has approved a 12-month state of emergency and officials have announced plans for a state funeral for the victims to be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Genoa.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has declared a state of emergency for the Liguria region, which includes Genoa, one of Italy's busiest ports. There was torrential rainfall at the time.

"There has not been sufficient maintenance and checks, and safety work for many bridges and viaducts and bridges in Italy constructed - nearly all - during the 1960s", he said. That means traffic could have been heavier than usual on the Genoa highway.

  • Leroy Wright