Genoa bridge collapse survivor and Italian footballer Davide Capello tells of falling 160 FEET as he says 'I don't know what saved me'

The Ponte Morandi road on the A10 motorway in northern Italy crashed onto houses and offices below at 11.30am local time during a "violent" lightning storm.

Incredibly some of the victims who were on the bridge when it collapsed have been pulled from the mangled wreckage below alive by rescuers workers.

Others trapped in the rubble have been also been heard crying for help, reports BBC News.


WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:

  • At least 35 people are known to have died
  • 'Many' more have been seriously injured
  • Four people have been rescued alive
  • 35 cars and three heavy vehicles involved
  • A 200m stretch of the road collapsed
  • PM Giuseppe Conte is heading to Genoa

Davide Capello, 33, a goalkeeper who played with Cagliari when they were in Serie A, described the moment his car plunged when the road gave way.

Speaking with Repubblica from hospital, he said: “I went down with the bridge, I do not know what saved me.

"I heard a dull sound, I saw the road going down and I was going down with her.

"I was lucid and I immediately called the firemen, then my family, it was shocking, I feel miraculous".





At least 35 people were killed in the disaster, including a family of three who were driving over the structure when it fell.

Groundworkers were killed as they worked on an island below.

Some witnesses say the bridge  – which was undergoing structural repairs – collapsed after being struck by a bolt of lightning.

But engineering experts say it was more likely a flaw in the construction of the 50-year-old bridge.

Agathoklis Giaralis, deputy director of the University of London's Civil Engineering Structures Research Centre, told MailOnline:"It couldn't have been lightning.

"I don't see how that would be possible as it's reinforced concrete and it's certainly never happened before.

"For such a bridge to collapse it has to be something serious that went unnoticed in maintenance and inspections."




Genoa defender Domenico Criscito, who has 24 caps for the Italian national side, revealed he drove over the bridge ten minutes before the collapse.

The 31-year-old, whose previous clubs include Juventus and Zenit St Petersburg, posted a video on Instagram showing him driving across the highway in torrential rain.

Writing on social media, he said: “We're all fine, even though we crossed that bridge exactly 10 minutes before the collapse.

“My thoughts are with all the families of the victims, it's not possible for a bridge on a motorway to collapse like this – NOT POSSIBLE!”



A lorry driver described how he saw the motorway crash in his mirror as he drove over the bridge.

He told Repubblica: “I saw the bridge collapse in the rear-view mirror, a terrible fear, I'm miraculously alive".

Another witness said the road collapsed as if it was “made with flour.”

Repubblica journalist Matteo Pucciarelli said: "It is an apocalyptic image – says – as if a bomb had hit the city, there are many white sheets, but it is still impossible to estimate the number of victims"

The head of the local ambulance service reportedly said there were "dozens of dead" following the tragedy in Genoa at 11.30am local time.

And within two hours of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge there were already at least 35 confirmed deaths with more seriously injured.

The governor of the local region Giovanni Toti this afternoon that said he expected the death toll to "grow significantly.'


Did you witness the collapse of the bridge? Are you in the area? If so contact us and send us your pictures: [email protected] or call: 020 778 24376





Eyewitness Pietro M. all'Asa said: "It was just after 11.30am when we saw the lightning strike the bridge and we all saw the bridge going down."

Another witness, unnamed, recalled: "We heard an incredible roar and first we thought it was thunder very close by.

"We live about 5km [three miles] from the bridge but we heard a crazy bang – we were very scared.

"Traffic went completely haywire and the city was paralysed."

What caused the Morandi Bridge to collapse?

Some witnesses say the bridge – which was undergoing structural repairs – collapsed after being struck by a bolt of lightning.

But engineering experts say it was more likely a flaw in the construction of the 50-year-old structure.

Specialists say it’s highly unlikely that lightning caused the collapse – because it is made of reinforced concrete and it has ‘never happened before’.

Instead they claim the bridge, completed in 1967, must have been flawed in its construction, likely in the foundations, or suffered from extensive corrosion in its metallic parts.

It has also been suggested the collapse could have been triggered by the wind – coupled with the fact the bridge was fully-loaded with cars.

Engineering experts also warned two years ago that it would be more cost effective to knock the bridge down than to continue to repair the 'uneven' construction’.

In the early 1990s, the suspension cables along the bridge had to be replaced, and further restructuring work was carried out in 2016.

And in In 2016, Antonio Brencich, associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Genoa, said the Morandi Bridge's maintenance costs were 'so exorbitant that it would be cheaper to build a new one'.





The areas surrounding the bridge have now been sealed off over fears other parts of the structure may now collapse.

A rescue worker told local news outlet Ansa: "There is a risk that other parts of the bridge may collapse, which is why we have evacuated people from all the surrounding buildings."

Photographs show a 200-metre section of the motorway near the port city had collapsed and now rescue crews are working to free survivors trapped in the rubble below.

Dog and sonar teams have joined emergency crews at the scene on and below the busy bridge, which is near the city's airport.





Rescuers have compared the scene to an earthquake disaster zone.

According to firefighters, there are around 20 trapped vehicles and gas leaks have also been reported: "Here is hell," said one rescue worker.

The disaster occurred on a "tourist" highway that connects Italy to France and the road was busier than usual. The A10 is also one of the main roads which leads to the Italian Riviera.

An eyewitness told Sky Italia the saw "eight or nine" vehicles on the bridge when it collapsed in what he said was an "apocalyptic scene".





One image posted by the regional emergency services shows a truck perched at the end of the surviving bridge section immediately before the drop.

Images emerged later of an air ambulance being loaded with one of the injured near the bridge, which had recently been undergoing repairs.

The missing section ran across the span of the Polcevera stream. Italian newspaper La Repubblica described that part of the city as "densely inhabited".

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said in a tweet that he was "following with great apprehension what seems like an immense tragedy".



Italian television showed images of the collapsed bridge, which was built on the A10 toll motorway in the 1960s. Major restructuring work on the bridge was also carried out in 2016.

Maria Luisa Catalano, a police official in Genoa, said authorities are still involved in rescue efforts and do not yet know the number of victims.

Interior minister Matteo Salvini said some 200 firefighters were responding to the accident.

He said on Twitter: “We are following minute by minute the situation for the bridge collapse in Genoa.”

Authorities are working on the theory a structural weakness caused the collapse.




Video footage appears to show one of the towers holding up the suspension bridge collapsing in stormy weather. The police linked it to what they called a violent cloudburst.

The collapsed section had mostly fallen onto rail tracks below and there are now fears a gas pipeline may have been damaged.

Corrosion or weather conditions could have been part of the cause for the collapse, claimed a structural engineer specialising in bridges.

"As this reinforced and prestressed concrete bridge has been there for 50 years it is possible that corrosion of tendons or reinforcement may be a contributory factor," said Ian Firth, former president of The Institution of Structural Engineers.


"The fact that there was reported to be a storm at the time may or may not be particularly relevant. In addition, ongoing work on the bridge may or may not be partly responsible for the collapse."

Serie A clubs and players have today tribute to the victims through social media.

Former Genoa star Leonardo Pavoletti wrote on Twitter: “I have goosebumps thinking of how many times we passed through this bridge.

"It’s incredible that tragedies like this one can happen these days. My heart is close to Genova at this moment.”


Italy national team coach and former Sampdoria star Roberto Mancini has just shared a message on social media.

"I'm close to the family of the victims, I am close to a city and a region that do not deserve this", Mancini wrote on Twitter.

The structural breakdown reportedly started from one of the bridge's columns at Via Fillak, in the Sampierdarena area.

The bridge, also known as the Polcevera Viaduct, is named after its architect Riccardo Morandi. Construction began in 1962 and was completed in 1968.

The 1,100 metres-long structure is said to be the first cable-stayed concrete bridge ever built in Europe.

The collapse of the bridge comes eight days after another major accident on an Italian highway, one near the northern city of Bologna.

In that case, a tanker truck carrying a highly flammable gas exploded after rear-ending a stopped truck on the road and getting hit from behind itself.

The accident killed one person, injured dozens and blew apart a section of a raised eight-lane highway.



 

Source: Read Full Article