Rescuers scoured crushed mountains of rubble for victims of a bridge collapse in Genoa as the toll rose to 39 yesterday and Italy's government blamed the company in charge of motorways for the disaster.
-Rescuers hunt for survivors -Minister seeks "highest penalties" on manager -Wants concession revoked -Operator says regular checks were done -Italy starts audit of bridges, tunnels
-Rescuers hunt for survivors
-Minister seeks "highest penalties" on manager
-Wants concession revoked
-Operator says regular checks were done
-Italy starts audit of bridges, tunnels
A vast span of the Morandi bridge caved in during a heavy rainstorm in the northern port city on Tuesday, sending about 35 cars and several trucks plunging 45 metres (150 feet) onto the railway tracks below.
At least 39 people are known to have died and 15 injured, according to Italy's Civil Protection service.
Children aged eight, 12 and 13 were among the dead, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said yesterday, adding that more people were still missing.
Hundreds of rescuers continued their search yesterday after scouring the huge piles of concrete and twisted metal overnight by floodlight, hoping to find survivors.
The tragedy has focused anger on the structural problems that have dogged the decades old bridge and the private sector firm Autostrade per l'Italia, which is currently in charge of operating and maintaining the country's motorways.
Italy's government said it intended to revoke the company's contract and hit it with a fine of 150 million euros ($170 million).
Aerial footage of the viaduct shows lines of abandoned vehicles stretching across the remaining section of the bridge, with one truck perched towards the edge of a gaping precipice where a huge part is missing.
More than 200 metres (650 feet) of the 1960s bridge crumpled without warning as traffic crossed the busy stretch of motorway on Tuesday, in the deadliest disaster of its kind in Europe since 2001.
The collapse came as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work while the Liguria region, where Genoa is situated, experienced torrential rainfall.