GENOA BRIDGE TRAGEDY: Family of three, including 7-year-old son, among 39 killed in Italy bridge collapse
Tonnes of steel and concrete debris fell into a river, railroad tracks and an industrial zone below which crushed the vehicles which had fallen to the ground
The devastating bridge collapse in the Italian city of Genoa on Tuesday killed at least 39 people, which included a young family of three, a footballer and road workers, reports state.
The young family — 45-year-old Roberto Robbiano, his 41-year-old wife Ersilia Piccinino, and their seven-year-old son Samuele — plummeted to death as their vehicle was crushed by the bridge debris as it crumbled to the ground. The family was reportedly heading for a beach holiday when the tragedy occurred.
A 260ft section of the 50-year-old Morandi bridge caved in on Tuesday at around 11:30 am, plunging multiple vehicles on the bridge at the time to 1250ft below. Reports state that tonnes of steel and concrete debris fell into a river, railroad tracks and an industrial zone below which crushed the vehicles which had fallen to the ground.
The seven-year-old boy was among the first victims to be recovered from the wreckage. The family's car reportedly was full of luggage and toys as they were heading to Sardinia for a getaway.
Robbiano, a computer technician, married his wife Piccinino in 2014 and the duo used to post pictures of their happy family, including their family cat as they went on adventures during their holidays. The victims of the tragedy also include an amateur football player, identified as Andrea Cerulli, the father of a young son. Cerulli's friends and family flooded the social media with heartfelt tributes and messages shortly after the incident.
Cerulli's football club, on its Facebook page, wrote: "Genoa Club Portuali Voltri rallying around Andrea's family, our associate, our friend, our colleague, victim of Ponte Morandi's tragedy."
Another victim 35-year-old Luigi Matti Altadonna also died while crossing the bridge on Tuesday. Reports state that he was driving his work van over the bridge when it collapsed under him, even though rescuers attempted to save him from the wreckage, he eventually succumbed to his injuries. The mayor of his hometown of Borghetto wrote a heartfelt message to his grieving uncle, according to the Daily Mail.
Mayor Borghettino Giancarlo Canepa said: "The municipal administration joins the pain of Giovanni, a model citizen and an exemplary volunteer of the Civil Protection Section of Borghetto, for the loss of his dear nephew in the terrible tragedy of Genoa."
At least two workers from Ammiu, a waste management company, were also reported dead after they were crushed by falling debris. The workers reportedly worked on the ecological island of Campi right below the bridge.
The company's director, Tiziana Merlino, released a statement, saying: "The damages are invaluable but nothing compared to the pain for the lives lost." The company has reportedly indefinitely halted work on the ecological island.
Two days of mourning for Wednesday and Thursday was declared in the city of Genoa after the tragedy. The tragedy also witnessed miraculous escapes of some fortunate survivors who were rescued from the wreckage and rushed to the hospital. Some remain in critical condition, according to reports.