Car, Truck Swept Away As Bridge Collapses In France

The French flag

 

A suspension bridge over the Tarn river in southwest France collapsed on Monday, sweeping away a car and a truck, rescue workers said.

No information on casualties were immediately available.

The bridge connects the towns of Mirepoix-sur-Tarn and Bessieres, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of the city of Toulouse.

The head of the Haute-Garonne department Georges Meric told AFP that three vehicles were caught in the bridge collapse, without saying what happened to the third.

Over 60 emergency workers were at the scene, he said, adding that an investigation would be carried out into the condition of the bridge.

 

AFP

China Road Bridge Collapses, Traps Cars Underneath

This aerial photo taken on August 14, 2019 shows a view of the Sutong Bridge in Nantong in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. STR / AFP

 

A highway bridge collapsed in Jiangsu province in eastern China on Thursday, state media said, trapping cars underneath in the rubble.

The accident occurred around 6 pm local time (1000 GMT) in Wuxi city, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) northwest of Shanghai, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

State-run People’s Daily said in a tweet that rescue and investigation work was under way, and local newspaper the Yangzi Evening News said at least 10 ambulances were seen racing to the scene.

Photos tweeted by People’s Daily showed at least two cars completely crushed under a large section of the collapsed bridge, below a truck that had been driving over the bridge.

Dramatic videos posted on social media showed the section of the bridge swaying then crashing onto the road and vehicles underneath.

Other images showed crushed cars, with only their front sections or headlights visible under a huge block of grey concrete.

One clip posted on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform showed the moment the bridge fell — narrowly avoiding a small three-wheel car, whose driver was seen leaping out and running away.

CCTV said three cars were trapped, including one parked car that was empty, while local authorities believed the bridge might have collapsed due to a heavily overloaded truck.

Construction and road accidents are not uncommon in China.

In February 2018, at least eight people died in downtown Foshan, Guangdong province, when a water leak inside a subway station construction site caused a major road to cave in.

ATBU Sends Students Home After Fatal Bridge Collapse

The management of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) on Tuesday issued a notice for students to vacate the campus after a flood disaster which led to the collapse of a pedestrian bridge, killing four students.

Students are asked to vacate the school premises immediately.

The notice was indicated in a circular signed by the registrar of the institution, A.G Hassan and pasted around the campus.

READ ALSO: Four Students Killed, Eight Others Injured After Bridge Collapse In Bauchi

“Following the unfortunate incident (a flood disaster) of Monday, August 5, the Senate at an emergency meeting held on Tuesday, August 6 approved a break with effect from Tuesday, August 6 to August 18, 2019.

“All students are, therefore, required to vacate the campuses with immediate effect from today, August 6, 2019. It should be noted that academic activities resume with effect from Monday, August 19, 2019,” the circular reads in part.

The Vice-Chancellor Professor Abdulazeez Ahmed also commiserates with parents, SUG, students and the University community over the sad event and prays that the almighty God will protect the University from such incident int the future.

The notice for the short break follows an accident on Monday midnight where a pedestrian bridge collapsed at the Gubi Campus, killing four students.

Eight other students were injured in the bridge collapse.

The bridge which links one of the hostels and another building containing lecture rooms collapsed at Monday midnight, following a heavy downpour.

Italy Demolishes Disaster Bridge That Claimed 43 Lives

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (C) speaks during a visit to the demolition site of the western section of the remains of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa on February 8, 2019.

 

Engineers started the delicate task of taking apart Genoa’s Morandi motorway bridge on Friday almost six months after its partial collapse during a storm killed 43 people and injured dozens.

Thousands of tonnes of steel, concrete and asphalt have already been removed from the spectacularly truncated high-rise bridge in the northern Italian port city to make it lighter before the “deconstruction” operation began.

“It’s an important day, the first step on a path that we hope will be as short as possible,” Prime Minister Giussepe Conte told journalists at the site.

Four powerful strand-jacks positioned on the bridge by an enormous crane began unhooking and slowly lowering a 36-by-18 meter (118-by-59 foot) concrete slab weighing over 900 tonnes.

READ ALSO: Italy Declares State Of Emergency After Bridge Collapse

The jacks are the same as those used to right the Costa Concordia cruise liner off Tuscany in 2013 after it ran aground and capsized with the loss of 32 lives.

The operation to lower the vast slab around 48 meters to the ground is expected to take at least eight hours.

 Homage to the victims 

The operation will help the city move on from the August disaster, which beyond the human cost also ripped out one of the city’s main transport arteries.

Italy’s most famous living architect Renzo Piano, a Genoa native who helped design the Pompidou Centre in Paris, has provided the design for the replacement bridge that “will last for 1,000 years”.

While the new structure has been designed to look different from the old one, opened in 1967, it will contain a homage to the victims of the accident.

It will feature 43 lamp poles in memory of those killed when a section collapsed during a storm on August 14, sending dozens of vehicles and tonnes of concrete tumbling to the ground.

The new bridge commission, headed by Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci, noted the new design “rests on pillars, respecting the feeling of psychological aversion in the city (to) other types of the bridge with suspended or cable-stayed parts”.

It will “have elements of a boat because that is something from Genoa,” Piano has said, describing a streamlined and luminous white structure.

The new bridge is estimated to cost 202 million euros (US$229 million), making it one of the most expensive in Europe.

It is expected to be open to traffic by April 2020, junior transport minister Edoardo Rizi said on Thursday, with the demolition of the old structure due to take 190 days.

 Invisible decay 

The old cable-stayed bridge was made from reinforced concrete, with the steel cables linking the bridge’s towers also covered in concrete.

One theory investigators are looking into is that the steel within the concrete had decayed, although this would not have been visible.

There have also been allegations of poor maintenance, poor design and questionable building practices.

Explosives will be used to demolish the bridge from around February 20, Genoa’s Repubblica newspaper reported.

The eastern side of the bridge, where the structure gave way, still needs to be examined by experts and prosecutors.

Autostrade per l’Italia (Aspi) operated the failed bridge and several of its managers could face trial over the collapse.

Ahead of anticipated court proceedings, Aspi is still negotiating compensation payments with bereaved relatives, reportedly for a total of 50 million euros.

For the first time in an Italian public works contract, the construction companies face stiff penalties of up to 202,000 euros a day for any delays.

Civil engineering expert Pierre Corfdir said planning the demolition of a bridge this size (over 1,180 metres) would normally take around three years.

“This is one of the most complex bridge demolitions” because of the built-up environment, said Corfdir, who works at France’s Cerema institute.

“There’s also time pressure: they have to rebuild a bridge that is of vital importance to the city’s economy.”

AFP

Italy Begins State Funeral For Bridge Collapse Victims

This handout picture taken and released by the Vigili del Fuoco, the Italian fire and rescue service, on August 14, 2018, shows rescuers at work amid rubble and wreckage after the collapse of a section of the Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa.  Handout / Vigili del Fuoco / AFP

 

A state funeral was underway in Italy Saturday for those killed by the devastating collapse of a motorway bridge in Genoa, as rescuers discovered more victims.

The service has been shunned by more than half of the families who lost loved ones after the Morandi bridge crumbled without warning on Tuesday.

The death toll of 38 looked set to rise after the fire service announced early on Saturday that they had found human remains in a crushed car.

AFP

Sampdoria, Genoa’s Serie A Games Postponed After Bridge Collapse

Rescuers scour through the rubble and wreckage after a giant motorway bridge collapsed earlier in Genoa on August 14, 2018. ANDREA LEONI / AFP

 

Italian football authorities on Thursday agreed to postpone Serie A games involving Sampdoria and Genoa this weekend following the bridge collapse in the port city which killed dozens.

Both Genoa clubs had requested that their opening games of the season be pushed back with Sampdoria due to host Fiorentina and Genoa playing at AC Milan on Sunday

“The President of the Lega Serie A, given the requests for postponement of their matches scheduled for Sunday, August 19 at 20.30 on the part of the clubs Sampdoria and Genoa as result of the tragedy which hit Genoa, and having received the assent of both Fiorentina and Milan, has decided on the postponement of the Sampdoria-Fiorentina and Milan-Genoa matches,” Lega Serie A said in a statement.

AFP

Italy Declares State Of Emergency After Bridge Collapse

Rescuers scour through the rubble and wreckage after a giant motorway bridge collapsed earlier in Genoa on August 14, 2018.  ANDREA LEONI / AFP

 

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte declared Wednesday a 12-month state of emergency in Genoa following the collapse of a bridge that killed at least 39 people.

“A cabinet meeting took place in which we have decreed a 12-month state of emergency and made available a first allocation worth five million euros ($5.7 million) for the national emergencies fund,” Conte said in a press conference in the north-western port city.

 

Details Shortly..

AFP

Shattered Lives After Bridge Collapses In Italy

A general view shows the Morandi motorway bridge one day after a section collapsed in Genoa on August 15, 2018. Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

 

When huge slabs of Genoa’s most famous bridge suddenly crashed to the ground carrying cars and trucks with them, people living in the shadow of the crumbling structure thought they were in the grips of a natural disaster. 

“I was at home and all the buildings were shaking, worse than in a huge earthquake,” said 86-year-old Pasquale Ranieri, who lives in a five-storey building under the Morandi bridge.

Dozens of people were killed when a vast span of the viaduct fell away late Tuesday morning without warning, crashing onto railways lines far below and killing dozens.

While the buildings under the viaduct were largely spared the impact of the falling concrete, more than 600 people evacuated from apartments under the shard of unscathed bridge face uncertainty about when, if ever, they will be allowed to live in their homes again.

“I stayed with my family last night but this is going to last months and months. I want to go home,” said Ranieri, who was worried about his food rotting now that his electricity was cut off.

Going home to recover belongings was still impossible on Wednesday, while Genoa’s mayor Marco Bucci said the surviving stretch of bridge may have to be torn down — and the homes underneath may not be protected.

“There is a risk that the houses are taken down,” he said.

Rescuers were scouring the mountainous piles of rubble searching for victims on Wednesday, as the toll rose to 39 with others still missing.

Frozen at the edge of a yawning precipice, a single green truck sits next to the edge of the surviving stretch of bridge, having halted just seconds from disaster.

 ‘It is a scandal’ 

At the security perimeter encircling the endangered buildings, two police officers stand guard, refusing to bow to the pleas of the dozens of inhabitants who have been desperate to go home since dawn.

Grazia Pistoro, a frail 83-year-old wearing just a thin leopard print blouse, was pleading to be able to collect clothes from her apartment.

“I didn’t sleep, I haven’t eaten,” she said.

“There are also people who need to get medicines.”

The Liguria regional government said some 632 people have been evacuated, with around a dozen buildings affected.

Bruna Millaci’s apartment is just outside the security perimeter.

“Yesterday I went shopping at the mall when I heard people talking about the collapsed bridge”, the 53-year-old translator said.

“I dropped everything and ran back in the rain to see if my two cats were still alive and the building was standing up, I was very scared.”

Anger is growing as authorities struggle to explain the cause of the sudden collapse of the decades-old bridge, which has been dogged by structural problems, as the government blamed the company in charge of motorways for the disaster.

“I can’t tell myself that this is real, I still feel like this is a movie,” said Francesco Bucchieri, 62, who watched the disaster unfold.

“There has been negligence, they underestimated the danger… we need to find the culprits, it is a scandal, the guilty must pay!”

AFP

Italian Bridge Collapse: What We Know

A picture shows the Morandi motorway bridge after it collapsed in Genoa on August 14, 2018. At least 30 people were killed on August 14 when the giant motorway bridge collapsed in Genoa in northwestern Italy.  Valery HACHE / AFP

 

Nearly 40 people died on Tuesday when a giant motorway bridge collapsed in Genoa in northwestern Italy, with the death toll expected to mount further.

Here’s what we know about the bridge, the collapse and the response:

 The bridge 

The Morandi viaduct, a massive concrete structure less than five kilometres (three miles) to the west of Genoa’s old port, was completed in 1967 and acts as the flyover of the A10 motorway.

Named after the architect who designed it, the bridge spanned railway lines, factory buildings and the Polcevera stream around 45 metres (over 150 feet) below.

Genoa’s rugged terrain means motorways and roads running through the city and the surrounding area need extensive bridge and tunnel systems.

The collapse 

A vast span of about 200 metres collapsed during a heavy rainstorm Tuesday morning, sending about 35 cars and several trucks plunging onto the railway tracks below.

Some vehicles managed to stop in time, with one truck coming to a halt just metres from the abyss.

Autostrade per l’Italia, a highway operator controlled by Atlantia which runs much of Italy’s motorway network, said it had been carrying out maintenance work on the bridge.

Regional weather services had issued a storm warning for the morning of the collapse and the national police force said on Twitter the disaster happened amid a “violent cloudburst”.

 The victims 

Officials say that at least 39 people are known to have died and 15 were injured but with search efforts continuing, the toll is expected to rise.

Children aged eight, 12 and 13 were among the dead, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday, adding that more people were still missing.

Three Chileans, who lived in Italy, and three French nationals were also killed.

The emergency response 

Hundreds of rescuers continued their search on Wednesday, after working through the huge piles of concrete and twisted metal overnight in the hope of finding survivors.

Fire official Emanuele Gissi said two large cranes were set to be used in the rescue and recovery operation, which is expected to take days.

“We cannot know if there are survivors remaining, but it’s our job to search.”

The national police force told road users to avoid the area and seek alternative routes.

 The reaction 

The tragedy quickly took on a political hue, with Italian government officials saying it showed that the private sector should not be in charge of major public infrastructure projects.

Anger focused especially on the structural problems that have dogged the bridge and the role of Autostrade per l’Italia.

Italy’s government said it intended to revoke the company’s contract and hit it with a fine of 150 million euros ($170 million).

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said the tragedy “could have been avoided”.

“Autostrade should have done maintenance and didn’t do it,” he said.

Interior Minister Salvini said 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”.

Pope Francis expressed condolences to the victims and said the tragedy has “caused desperation among the population”, at a service for the feast of the Assumption.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron said his country was ready to “offer all necessary support”.

The spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her “thoughts like those of so many Germans, are with the victims and their families”.

The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “I express my deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have died and to the Italian people.”

AFP

Italian Govt To Revoke Motorway Contract After Bridge Collapse

Rescuers are at work amid the rubble of a section of a giant motorway bridge that collapsed earlier, on August 14, 2018 in Genoa.  ANDREA LEONI / AFP

 

The Italian government said Wednesday that it wants to revoke the contract given to the company that manages the country’s motorways and slap it with a huge fine following a bridge collapse in Genoa that has killed at least 35 people.

“The first thing that should happen is that the heads of Autostrade per l’Italia should step down. And given that there have been breaches (of contract), I announce that we have begun the process for the eventual revocation of their contract and a fine of 150 million euros ($170 million),” transport minister Danilo Toninelli said on Facebook.

AFP

Death Toll Rises To 35 In Italy Bridge Collapse

Death Toll Rises To 35 In Italy Bridge Collapse
Rescuers inspect the rubble and wreckages by the Morandi motorway bridge after a section collapsed earlier in Genoa on August 14, 2018. Valery HACHE / AFP

 

A frantic search was underway Wednesday for survivors under the shattered remains of a motorway bridge in Genoa as the death toll rose to 35 and investigators probed what caused the catastrophic collapse.

A vast span of the Morandi bridge caved in during a heavy rainstorm in the northern port city on Tuesday, sending about 35 cars and several trucks plunging 45 metres (150 feet) onto the railway tracks below.

“Unfortunately the toll has risen to 35 in the Genoa tragedy, including three children aged eight, 12 and 13 years old,” Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said, praising firefighters who worked tirelessly through the night.

Rescuers recovered three bodies overnight, fire official Emanuele Gissi told AFP, after scouring the scene of devastation under floodlights.

“All accessible spaces have been explored, now we are moving the largest pieces of debris,” Gissi said, adding that two large cranes were being brought to the site to assist the operation.

“We cannot know if there are survivors remaining, but it’s our job to search,” he said, adding that the rescue operation would take days.

Sources in the interior ministry told Italian media that 16 people were wounded, including 12 in serious condition.

The collapse came as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work and as the Liguria region, where Genoa is situated, experienced torrential rainfall.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said a “catastrophe” had hit Genoa and the whole of Italy.

“Italians have the right to modern and efficient infrastructure that accompanies them safely through their everyday lives,” Mattarella said in a statement.

– ‘I went down with the car’ –

Rescuers scoured through the wreckage, strewn among shrubland and train tracks, as rescue helicopters winched survivors on stretchers from the ruined bridge.

Between firefighters police and other emergency services, around a thousand people have been mobilised in the rescue effort, according to the Civil Protection service.

As cars and trucks tumbled off the bridge, Afifi Idriss, 39, a Moroccan lorry driver, just managed to come to a halt in time.

“I saw the green lorry in front of me stop and then reverse so I stopped too, locked the truck and ran,” he told AFP.

Others that plunged down with the bridge managed to escape unscathed, including a former goalkeeper for Italian Serie A club 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 car,” Davide Capello told TV news channel Sky TG24.

The incident — the deadliest of its kind in Europe since 2001 — is the latest in a string of bridge collapses in Italy, a country prone to damage from seismic activity but where infrastructure generally is showing the effects of a faltering economy.

– ‘Unacceptable’ way to die –

Aerial footage showed more than 200 metres (650 feet) of the viaduct, known locally as the Morandi bridge, completely destroyed.

Salvini, who is co-deputy prime minister and leader of the nationalist League party in the new coalition government, vowed to hold those responsible for the disaster accountable.

“I have gone over this bridge hundreds of times, and I commit to digging and finding out who is responsible for an unacceptable tragedy, because it’s not possible that in 2018 you can work and die in these conditions,” he said.

Italy’s other deputy prime minister, Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio, is expected to arrive at the scene on Wednesday morning, with Salvini to follow in the afternoon.

The national motorways body said on its website that “maintenance works were being carried out on the base of the viaduct”, adding that a crane had been moved on site to assist the work.

– History of collapses –

Genoa, home to half a million people, is located between the sea and the mountains of northwestern Italy.

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 with several factories.

One factory, immediately next to one of the viaduct’s support columns, was virtually empty on Tuesday on the eve of a national holiday, and seems to have sustained minimal damage.

“I live nearby and I cross the bridge every day on foot,” said Ibou Toure, 23, a translator. “I was never sure of it, you’d always hear these noises whenever lorries were going over.

“When I heard it had collapsed, I wasn’t surprised.”

In March last year, a couple were killed when a motorway overpass collapsed on their car near Ancona on the country’s Adriatic coast.

A pensioner died in October 2016 when his car was crushed by a collapsing bridge over a dual carriageway between Milan and Lecco.

That incident was blamed on bureaucratic bungling which led to a fatal delay in the bridge being closed after it was reported to be showing significant cracks.

AFP

Italian Bridge Collapse Death Toll Hits 30

This handout picture taken and released by the Vigili del Fuoco, the Italian fire and rescue service, on August 14, 2018, shows rescuers at work amid rubble and wreckage after the collapse of a section of the Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa. Handout / Vigili del Fuoco / AFP

 

About 30 people were killed on Tuesday when a giant motorway bridge collapsed in heavy rain in the Italian city of Genoa in what the government called an “immense tragedy”.

The collapse, which saw a vast stretch of the A10 freeway tumble on to railway lines in the northern port city, came as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work and as the Liguria region, where Genoa is situated, experienced torrential rainfall.

“Unfortunately there are around 30 dead and many injured in a serious condition,” Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told reporters.

Rescuers scouring through the wreckage, strewn among shrubland and train tracks, said there were “dozens” of victims, as rescue helicopters winched survivors on stretchers from the ruined bridge.

Cars and trucks were tangled in the rubble and nearby buildings damaged by vast chunks of concrete, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.

The incident — the deadliest of its kind in Europe since 2001 — is the latest in a string of bridge collapses in Italy, a country prone to damage from seismic activity but where infrastructure generally is showing the effects of economic stagnation.

Patrick Villardry, a French firefighter who came from Nice to help the rescue effort, said the task was huge.

“The first victims have been evacuated and now we have to search under the wreckage of buildings, but there are thousands of tonnes of concrete,” he told AFP.

President Giuseppe Conte was due to visit the scene later Tuesday.

 ‘Unacceptable to die like this’ 

Aerial footage showed more than 200 metres (650 feet) of the viaduct, known locally as the Morandi bridge, completely destroyed.

“I’m following with the utmost apprehension what is happening in Genoa and what looks like it could be an immense tragedy,” Transport and Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli said on Twitter.

Salvini, who is also leader of the nationalist League party in a power-sharing government, vowed to hold those responsible for the disaster accountable.

“I have gone over this bridge hundreds of times, and I commit to digging and finding out who is responsible for an unacceptable tragedy, because it’s not possible that in 2018 you can work and die in these conditions,” he said.

The cause of the disaster was not immediately clear, although weather services in the Liguria region where Genoa is situated had issued a storm warning Tuesday morning.

The national motorways body said on its website that “maintenance works were being carried out on the base of the viaduct“, adding that a crane had been moved on site to assist the work.

Shares in Italian company Atlantia, which runs much of Italy’s motorway network including the collapsed stretch of the A10, plunged on the Milan stock exchange after the news.

The shares were temporarily suspended when their slide exceeded 10 percent and closed the day down more than five percent at 23.54 euros.

 History of collapses 

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker in a statement expressed “my deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have died, and to the Italian people”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also sent her condolences

Genoa, home to half a million people, is located between the sea and the mountains of northwestern Italy.

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, overspans dozens of railway lines as well as an industrial zone housing several factories.

One factory, immediately next to one of the viaduct‘s support columns, was virtually empty on Tuesday due to a national holiday and seems to have sustained minimal damage.

In March last year, a couple were killed when a motorway overpass collapsed on their car near Ancona on the country’s Adriatic coast.

A pensioner died in October 2016 when his car was crushed by a collapsing bridge over a dual carriageway between Milan and Lecco.

That incident was blamed on bureaucratic bungling which led to a fatal delay in the bridge being closed after it was reported to be showing significant cracks.

AFP