DOZENS of people – including a young child – are reported to have died today after a major motorway bridge collapsed during a torrential rainstorm in Italy.
Firefighters say cars and trucks plunged more than 50ft after a section of the A10 motorway suddenly fell away onto a heavily-populated district below.
The head of the local ambulance service reportedly said there were “dozens of dead” following the tragedy at 11.30am local time.
Within two hours of the tragedy there were already at least 11 confirmed deaths and many more seriously injured.
Photographs show a 200-metre section of the motorway near the port city of Genoa 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 Morandi bridge, which is near the city’s airport.
The disaster occurred on a highway that connects Italy to France on the eve of Ferragosto, a major Italian holiday, and the road was busier than usual.
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”.
Images emerged later of an air ambulance being loaded with one of the injured near the bridge, which had recently been undergoing repiars.
Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said in a tweet that he was “following with great apprehension what seems like an immense tragedy”.
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