Italians point fingers, seek answers after bridge collapse kills 39

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The 51-year-old bridge, part of a toll motorway linking the port city of Genoa with southern France, collapsed during torrential rain on Tuesday, Aug. 14, sending dozens of vehicles crashing onto a riverbed, a railway, and two warehouses.

The sudden collapse of the Morandi bridge in the port city of Genoa has led to widespread anger in the Italian media and blame game among the policymakers.

One lorry driver said he had been saved because he slowed down when a auto overtook him. "Some people are saying maybe lightning could have struck a cable on the bridge, but at this moment it's too early to say anything about the cause".

Colin Caprani, senior lecturer in structural engineering at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, said bridges "are not set-and-forget pieces of infrastructure", arguing that as the structures age, collapses like the Morandi bridge are likely to become more common occurrences.

"When, in 10 years' time, the Morandi bridge collapses, and everyone is stuck in traffic jams for hours, we'll need to remember the names of those who said no", said Giovanni Calvini, who was then regional president of Confindustria, an employers' association.

At least 39 people are known to have died and 15 injured, according to Italy's Civil Protection service.

She posted online to say the family had since found a hotel to stay and managed to get food and clothes from the supermarket.

"We even found a family - a father, mother and a small child who were together, in a vehicle, and unfortunately the three of them were dead".

Mr Toninelli also said the government would carry out nationwide structural inspections of ageing bridges and tunnels across the country.

According to the business daily Il Sole, the improvement work involved two weight-bearing columns that support the bridge - including one that collapsed Tuesday.

Luigi Di Maio, the deputy prime minister and leader of Five Star, the senior partner in Italy's populist coalition government, told reporters Tuesday: "If this bridge was unsafe then Autostrade should have closed it a long time ago".

Here is what we know so far about the disaster.

File Image of Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

"Italy sorely needs higher and better public investments but they haven't been a priority for politicians in recent years", Piga said, noting that the previous administration had even appeared to divert some funds away from infrastructure after winning some budgetary leeway from Brussels for investments.

Autostrade said the bridge maintenance programme had been based on the results of its regular checks and had also been approved by the transport ministry.

Autostrade per l'Italia said in 2011 the bridge had been suffering from degradation due to heavy traffic.

A family of three who were driving to Sardinia for a holiday were reportedly among those killed in a bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy.

Twitter/Google Maps/Business InsiderWhat the Morandi Bridge looked like before and after the collapse.

The Italian government, the new anti-establishment coalition at the helm - said the collapse showed Italy needed to spend more on its dilapidated infrastructure, ignoring European Union budget constraints if necessary.

"It was affected by extremely serious corrosion problems linked to the technology that was used (in construction)".

"First of all the top executives of Autostrade have to resign", he said in a message on Facebook. Italian prosecutors are focussing their investigation on possible design flaws or inadequate maintenance of the bridge being the reason for its collapse. "Everyone from Genoa crossed the bridge".

"We didn't hear or see anything, but after passing the bridge stopped at an Autogrill [roadside restaurant], and started to receive calls from family".