Driver clung to collapsed bridge praying he’d live ‘for unborn son’

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Driver clung to collapsed bridge praying he’d live ‘for unborn son’


Machines have continued to sift through the bridge wreckage in the hope of finding survivors. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/Getty Images
Machines have continued to sift through the bridge wreckage in the hope of finding survivors. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/Getty Images

Remarkable footage has emerged of a man being rescued from the mangled wreckage of his van, suspended amid the debris of the Genoa bridge collapse.

Firefighters carefully plucked businessman Gianluca Ardini (28) out of his vehicle, which was barely recognisable, and then abseiled him down to the ground.

Mr Ardini reportedly plunged about 40 metres in the vehicle before coming to rest amid the smashed remains of the bridge.

“We still can’t understand how it was possible for that to happen, but he is alive,” said his girlfriend, Giulia Organo, who is eight months pregnant.

“He dropped 40 metres and then remained wedged between the rubble, suspended 20 metres above the ground.

“He held on because he was determined to see the birth of his son. The firemen told him to remain totally still because the slightest movement could have caused another collapse. Then they pulled him out. It’s a miracle.”

As many as 20 people are still missing in the wreckage of the motorway bridge that collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa, officials have revealed. The death toll from the disaster currently stands at 39.

Rescue workers have been combing through mountains of concrete and other debris since the collapse on Tuesday.

Until now, authorities had not said how many people might be unaccounted for.

Chief Prosecutor Francesco Cozzi said that “there could be 10 to 20 persons still missing”.



A view of the Morandi highway bridge that collapsed in Genoa, northern Italy. (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)A view of the Morandi highway bridge that collapsed in Genoa, northern Italy. (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

A view of the Morandi highway bridge that collapsed in Genoa, northern Italy. (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Emergency workers worked through the night for a second time but did not find any survivors or bodies.

Large cranes, which are capable of lifting up to 300 tonnes, are being used to remove giant slabs of concrete.

Chunks of concrete that are too heavy for the cranes are being broken up into smaller pieces with a giant jack hammer.

The emergency services are anxious to clear the river that runs beneath the bridge before autumn rainfall brings the danger of floods.

“They’re still digging and not all areas have been reached yet, so we are working to find people who are still missing,” said Giovanni Toti, the governor of Liguria, the region that encompasses Genoa.

As well as those killed, 16 people were injured by the collapse of the bridge, with nine of them still in critical condition.

Mr Ardini suffered cuts, bruises and a compound fracture and is now recovering in hospital. A colleague travelling with him in the van did not survive.

Eleven apartment blocks beneath the shattered bridge have been evacuated of around 630 occupants and the buildings will probably have to be demolished.

“It’s going to be difficult for those homes to remain because the bridge is dangerous and there is a good chance of more parts of it collapsing,” said Marco Bucci, the mayor of Genoa.

The government has announced that the victims of the disaster will be given a state funeral tomorrow, which has been declared a day of national mourning.

The company that manages the motorway bridge, Autostrade per l’Italia, says it wants to reconstruct the bridge and that the project would take five months. But the government wants to revoke the company’s concession and punish it with a fine of up to €150m.

In a growing row between the government and Atlantia, the holding company that controls Autostrade, Atlantia said its concession could not be revoked before the cause of the collapse had been determined.

Prosecutors have launched an investigation which will look at the original design of the bridge in the 1960s and efforts to maintain it. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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