The Latest: Bridge collapse death toll lowered by 1 to 38
MILAN (AP) — The latest developments following the deadly collapse of a highway bridge in Italy (all times local):
Italian authorities have lowered the confirmed death toll in Genoa’s bridge collapse to 38 from 39.
Genoa Prefect Office official Raffaella Corsaro told The AP on Thursday that the change was due to a “misunderstanding” about information supplied by ambulance dispatchers.
Corsaro also says that there are 15 injured persons, including five in serious condition.
The highway bridge collapsed on Tuesday on one of the summer’s busiest travel day in Italy.
Genoa’s Chief Prosecutor Francesco Cozzi said Thursday that as many as 20 people might be unaccounted for. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said it was “inevitable” that the toll would rise as rescuers continue to search through the rubble for more bodies.
The cause of the collapse is under investigation.
The highway company responsible for the Genoa bridge that collapsed says that it would take “rigorous action” if it emerges that any of its staff were in any way responsible for the fatal incident.
Autostrade per l’Italia said in a statement Thursday that it was cooperating with authorities on the investigation and conducting its own internal inquiry into the collapse that killed at least 39 people.
Responding to Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s appeal for the company to give the families of victims a concrete response, the company says “our apologies are in our words and deeds.”
It says managers are working to facilitate rescue operations, restore traffic circulation to an acceptable level and come up with a plan to reconstruct the bridge as soon as possible.
The government has said it will start procedures to revoke the company’s concession.
An Italian truck driver who survived the plunge from the collapsed Genoa highway bridge with a dislocated shoulder and bruised hip says he still can’t look at the bridge he used to cross every day.
Luciano Goccia returned to the site of the rubble Thursday to retrieve possessions from the back of his wrecked truck.
He said has trouble sleeping while he thinks of the 39 confirmed dead in Tuesday’s collapse.
Goccia added in comments to reporters that “a miracle” is the only explanation for his survival.
He recalled that when his truck landed after the plunge from the 45-meter (150-foot) -high bridge, he tried to open a door. Then “nothing, I heard a loud bang. I turned around and I saw myself flying against a wall” and next to another truck.
The European Union is hitting back at an Italian claim that the collapse of a highway bridge in Genoa was somehow linked to budget restraints imposed from outside Italy.
EU spokesman Christian Spahr reacted Thursday after Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini criticized rules that limit budgetary spending, and linked them to the safety of infrastructure. Italy has been criticized by the eurozone for budgetary gaps and called on to rein in spending.
Spahr said that “the time has come to make a few things clear,” insisting that in the 2014-2020 EU budget plan “Italy is set to receive around 2.5 billion euros” under EU investment plans for network infrastructures, including roads.
He added that in April, the EU “also approved under EU state aid rules an investment plan for Italian motorways which will enable around 8.5 billion euros of investments to go ahead, including in the Genoa region.”
“In fact,” he said, “the EU has encouraged investment in infrastructure in Italy.”
Genoa’s chief prosecutor says there could be as many as 20 people missing in the rubble of the collapsed highway bridge in the city, in addition to the 39 already confirmed dead.
Searchers have been combing through tons of concrete and other debris since the collapse on Tuesday. Until Thursday, authorities hadn’t said how many people might be unaccounted-for. Chief Prosecutor Francesco Cozzi told reporters Thursday that “there could be 10 to 20 persons still missing.”
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has said it has been difficult to come up with an exact number as some of those reported missing by loved ones might actually be vacationers who reached their destination but haven’t contacted family or friends in recent days.
Italian rescue workers are toiling for a third day in hopes of finding survivors trapped under the rubble of the collapsed highway bridge in Genoa.
Genoa Firefighters’ spokeswoman Sonia Noci said Thursday that the search and rescue operations will continue until all those people listed as missing are found.
At least 39 people were killed in Tuesday’s collapse, but the exact number of those still missing remains unknown.
Local officials say they are taking data from people whose friends or relatives are missing, but that they do not yet know how many cars were on the bridge when it collapsed and cannot extrapolate how many people might be buried in the rubble.
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. The ceremony will be presided over by Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco.
The holding company for Autostrade per l’Italia was facing a volatile trading day after the government announced it would take steps to revoke the concession following the deadly bridge collapse in Genoa.
Shares in Atlantia were so volatile in opening Milan trading Thursday that they were not able to get a fixed price. The news agency ANSA said the theoretical drop was 21.4 percent, from Tuesday’s close of 23.54 euros ($26.66). Under stock market rules, trading is suspended if the shares gain or drop more than 10 percent in value.
Atlantia, which is owned by the Benetton fashion company, said in a statement before opening that revoking the concession required certain findings, including specific fault by the company and a determination of the cause of the collapse.
The Atlantia holding company that controls Italy’s main highway operator says the concession cannot be revoked without citing specific failures by the company in the deadly bridge collapse in Genoa.
Atlantia said before markets opened Thursday that government pledges to revoke Autostrade per l’Italia’s concession were made before the cause of the collapse has been determined. Company shares shed 5.4 percent in the last trading day Tuesday, burning 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion) in capital.
Atlantia said the government would have to pay the value of the concession to revoke it under the terms of the deal.
Premier Giuseppe Conte and key ministers said they are launching the process to revoke the concession, citing inadequate maintenance. Prosecutors are investigating both the maintenance and design of the bridge as a cause.