Genoa bridge collapse: Rescue workers hunt for survivors among the rubble as first victims named

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

Rescue workers are continuing to search for survivors of the bridge collapse in northern Italy, that killed 35 people.

More than 300 rescue workers and canine crews on the scene are searching for survivors in the rubble, while at least four people were pulled alive from vehicles under the Morandi bridge in Genoa, that gave way on Tuesday morning.

The first of the victims of the tragedy have been named – including electrician Roberto Robbiano, his wife Ersilia Piccinino, and their seven-year-old son Samuel, who were killed in the collapse.

The bridge collapse in Genoa resulted in the deaths of at least 35 people (AP)
Four people have so far been pulled out of the rubble alive (AP)

Their car is believed to have plummeted 150ft to the ground below as the 260ft section of the 50-year-old bridge collapsed.

The family are among 35 people killed when cars, steel and concrete fell into a river, railroad tracks and an industrial zone below them.

Andrea Cerulli, an amateur football player and the father of a young son, was also killed while he made his way to work, according to friends.


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His football club wrote on Facebook: ‘Genoa Club Portuali Voltri rallying around Andrea’s family, our associate, our friend, our colleague, victim of Ponte Morandi’s tragedy.’

Two workers from waste management company Ammiu were crushed to death by falling debris as they worked on the island of Campi, situated directly below the bridge. 

The company named one of them as Mirko Vicini, whose body was found in the evening.

Rescue workers pull an injured person out of the rubble (AP)

Company director Tiziana Merlino said: ’The damages are invaluable but nothing compared to the pain for the lives lost.’

‘Model citizen’ Luigi Matti Altadonna, 35, died while crossing the bridge in his work van, while an unnamed boy was also among the victims, according to mayor of Florence Dario Nardella.

He said: ‘Florence is gripped by the family of the Florentine boy who lost his life in the tragic collapse of the viaduct in Genoa and the loved ones of all the other victims.’

A whole section of the bridge collapsed, sending vehicles plummeting to the ground below (AP)

The disaster, on a major interchange connecting Genoa and other northern cities with beaches in eastern Liguria into France, focused attention on Italy’s ageing infrastructure, particularly its concrete bridges and viaducts built in the post-war boom of the 1950s and 1960s.

What caused the Morandi Bridge to fall remains unknown, and prosecutors said they were opening an investigation but had not identified any targets.

Transport minister Danilo Toninelli said the collapse was ‘unacceptable’ and that if negligence played a role ‘whoever made a mistake must pay’.

Early speculation focused on the structural weakness of the span.

Crushed vehicles lie amongst the concrete and steel following the collapse (AP)

Witnesses reported hearing a roar as the 45-metre bridge collapsed in torrential rain during midday traffic on the eve of a major holiday that sees most Italians abandoning cities for beaches and mountains.

One unidentified woman who was standing below told RAI state TV that it crumbled as if it were a mound of baking flour.

Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy’s civil protection agency, said: ‘Operations are ongoing to extract people imprisoned below parts of the bridge and twisted metal.’

Genoa has declared two days of mourning following the tragedy.