The Latest: Italy buries its Genoa dead as emotions surge
GENOA, Italy (AP) — The Latest on this week’s bridge collapse in Italy’s Genoa (all times local):
With anger and grief, Italians began burying some of their dead from the Genoa highway bridge collapse, holding funerals in the victims’ hometowns.
Several angry families rebuffed the offer of a state funeral and the cardinal of Naples was merciless Friday in his condemnation of negligence by Italian officials.
Saturday has been declared a national day of mourning in Italy and will include a state funeral at the industrial port city’s fair grounds for those who plunged to their deaths as the 45-meter (150-foot) tall Morandi Bridge gave way Tuesday.
But many of those who lost loved ones declined to participate in the state funeral. Some cited the need to bid farewell in private, while others blamed the loss of at least 38 lives on those responsible for the bridge’s safety.
In his homily, Naples Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe declared that “You can’t, you mustn’t die for negligence! For carelessness! For irresponsibility! For superficiality!”
A mayor in southern Italy has ordered the closure of a bridge designed by the same architect who created the collapsed Genoa highway bridge.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Benevento Mayor Clemente Mastella as saying Friday about his precautionary measure that it is “better to have inconveniences than trouble” for bridge users.
On Wednesday, the day after Genoa’s Morandi Bridge collapsed, killing at least 38 people, Mastella asked experts to check his city’s San Nicola bridge, which was also designed by architect Riccardo Morandi. That bridge was built in 1955 and had been reinforced in 2016.
Genoa prosecutors are focusing their probe into the cause of the bridge collapse on a possible design flaw or inadequate maintenance.
Davide Capello was driving across the bridge toward the Italian city of Genoa when suddenly, the road dropped out from under him. A trained firefighter, he understood immediately that the structure had collapsed.
Capello was at the midpoint of the bridge, he recounted Friday, when “everything, the world, came down.” The 33-year-old said: “I heard a noise, a dull noise. I saw the columns of the highway in front of me come down. A car in front of me disappeared into the darkness.”
His car plunged nose first, then suddenly stopped with a crash, air bags releasing around him. He said he saw only gray. Outside, he said, “there was an unreal silence.”
Capello was released from the hospital Thursday, two days after the collapse. He said had no major physical injuries.
Excavators have begun clearing large sections of the collapsed highway bridge in the Italian city of Genoa in the search for people still missing three days after the deadly accident.
The search entered a new phase Friday as heavy equipment removed a large vertical section, clearing a new area to probe. Rescuers have been tunneling through tons of jagged steel, concrete and crushed vehicles that plunged as many as 45 meters (150 feet) when the bridge suddenly fell during a downpour on Tuesday.
Officials say 38 people are confirmed killed and 15 injured. Prosecutors say 10 to 20 people might be unaccounted-for and the death toll is expected to rise.
The first funerals were being held later Friday, ahead of a state funeral in Genoa on Saturday to be celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.