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€5bn wiped off Italian bridge operator Atlantia after Genoa disaster

18 Août 2018

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Idris also credited police for hustling 150-200 people off the bridge to the tunnel, then risking their own lives by going back onto the span to bring some of the vehicles to safety. "What we discovered is that Autostrade per l'Italia is earning profits of like €4bn (£3.6bn; $4.55bn), spending just €1bn on maintenance and taking everything, sharing the profits between the owners".

But Wednesday, Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, a Five Star leader, called for a "Marshall Plan" to "secure" the country's infrastructure, much of which was built in the 1960s and 1970s.

The pair also called for the resignation of the top management of the company.

"In the last five years (2012-2017) the company's investment in the security, maintenance and strengthening of the network has been over one billion euros a year", it said.

Matteo Salvini, Italy's interior minister and the government's highest-profile politician, said on Twitter that the deal to manage the highway needs to be "re-debated". He tweeted that those responsible will "pay dearly".

Part of a busy toll motorway linking Genoa with France, the bridge collapsed during a violent lightning storm, sending 35 cars and trucks crashing 150ft to the ground below.

Salvini said in Genoa on August 15 that it is hard to establish who is not responding because they are on vacation and "who doesn't respond because they are under the rubble".

Rescuers searched overnight for survivors through tons of concrete and steel under the shattered structure of the Morandi Bridge.

The partially collapsed Morandi bridge in Genoa.

"Oh God", a witness can be heard crying out in Italian as footage of the collapse was caught on video.

Fire Brigade Spokesman, Luca Cari, said 400 firefighters were at the site, lifting big chunks of concrete to create spaces for rescue teams to check for survivors.

That incident was blamed on bureaucratic bungling which led to a fatal delay in the bridge being closed after it was reported to be showing significant cracks.

There still may be between 10 and 20 people missing under the rubble of the highway bridge that collapsed in Genoa this week, the city's chief prosecutor said on Thursday.

The dead include children aged eight, 12 and 13, according to Interior Minister Salvini, while three Chileans and four French nationals are among those killed.

The paper accused officials in Liguria, the region controlling the city of Genoa and its surrounding, of only making important restorations when issues with bridges had become obvious.

Pope Francis offered prayers for all those affected. "Obviously for me, it is not", he said. Atlantia SpA's largest single shareholder is a holding company controlled by the Benetton family, known primarily for its fashion company, United Colors of Benetton.

The Italian CNR civil engineering society said structures as old as the Morandi Bridge had surpassed their lifespans. Many in the city had said the 1967 bridge was in need of revamping. In that case, Autostrade may even keep the license, the official said.

The government has rounded on Autostrade, saying it could revoke its concession as it had failed to ensure the viaduct's safety, though investigators have yet to identify the exact cause of the collapse.

As the cleanup crews went about their work, authorities were anxious about the stability large remaining sections of the bridge, prompting a wider evacuation order and forcing about 630 people from nearby apartments, some practically in the shadow of the elevated highway.

€5bn wiped off Italian bridge operator Atlantia after Genoa disaster