Italy holds state funeral for victims of bridge collapse

The mass for 19 of the bridge collapse victims took place as rescue workers continued to search for unaccounted people still buried in the rubble.
People at the state funeral applauding as members of the fire brigade, rescue teams and police arrived at the exhibition centre in Genoa yesterday. The mass was held for 19 of those killed in the bridge collapse, but some families boycotted the event
People at the state funeral applauding as members of the fire brigade, rescue teams and police arrived at the exhibition centre in Genoa yesterday. The mass was held for 19 of those killed in the bridge collapse, but some families boycotted the event in protest against the state.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

GENOA • Italy mourned the victims of the collapse of a motorway bridge in the northern city of Genoa with a state funeral yesterday, as rescue workers kept searching for the last few unaccounted people buried in the rubble.

Last Tuesday, a 200m section of the Morandi bridge in Genoa gave way in busy lunchtime traffic, killing at least 38 people.

The mass for 19 of the victims was held at the Exhibition and Trade Centre of the northern port city and led by the city's Archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

But some of the victims' families boycotted the event and held private services as a protest against the state, which is seen as having been negligent in its role of overseeing safety on the privately run bridge.

A car was found yesterday morning by rescue workers under slabs of concrete. The fire brigade and the Genoa prefecture said it was "compatible" with one believed to have been carrying a family of three. But the official death toll has not been revised.

The government declared yesterday a national day of mourning, and it also declared a state of emergency for Genoa, one of Italy's largest ports.

Members of the fire brigade, rescue teams and the police force were welcomed with applause as they entered the exhibition centre, where the caskets, including a small white one for a child, were lined up in front of a temporary altar.

"These things should not happen but unfortunately they still do. Now they're looking for someone to blame but dead people cannot come back," said Mr Giuseppe Rondinelli, a friend of one of the victims.

A Genoa court will try to establish why the 51-year-old bridge collapsed, but experts said problems with concrete-encased cable stays were a possible cause.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 19, 2018, with the headline 'Italy holds state funeral for victims of bridge collapse'. Print Edition | Subscribe