The Italian news agency ANSA citing the Interior ministry says that 30 people are confirmed dead in the collapse of a highway bridge in the port city of Genova.
A bridge over an industrial area in the Italian city of Genova partially collapsed during a sudden and violent storm on Tuesday, sending vehicles plunging 80 meters (262 feet) into a heap of rubble below.
ANSA reported that five people are injured and in serious condition. The Interior ministry press office could not immediately confirm the fatalities.
Amalia Tedeschi, a firefighter, told RAI state TV that some 20 vehicles had been involved in the collapse. She said two people had been pulled alive from vehicles in the rubble that fell into an industrial area below the bridge and were being transported by helicopter to a hospital.
The disaster occurred on a highway that connects Italy to France and other vacation resorts on the eve of a major Italian holiday on Wednesday, Ferragosto, and traffic would have been heavier than usual as many Italians travelled to beaches or mountains.
The transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, called the collapse “an enormous tragedy.”
The private broadcaster Sky TG24 said that a 200-meter section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed over an industrial zone. Firefighters told The Associated Press they were worried about gas lines exploding in the area from the collapse.
Photos published by the ANSA news agency on its website showed a huge gulf between two sections of the bridge.
Video captured the sound of a man screaming: “Oh god, oh, god.” Other images showed a green truck that had stopped just meters (yards) short of the gaping hole in the bridge.
Interior minister Matteo Salvini said some 200 firefighters were responding to the accident.
“We are following minute by minute the situation for the bridge collapse in Genoa,” Salvini said on Twitter.
The Morandi Bridge was inaugurated in 1967. It is 90 meters (yards) high, just over a kilometer (about three-quarters of a mile) long, with the longest section between supports measuring 200 meters (yards).
The bridge is a main thoroughfare connecting the A10 highway that goes toward France and the A7 highway that continues north toward Milan.
ANSA said that authorities suspected that a structural weakness caused the collapse on Tuesday.