Four people have been “pulled out alive” from the wreckage of a collapsed bridge in the northern Italian city of Genoa, but at least 22 have died.
Transport official Edoardo Rixi told Sky Italia eight people were injured, while other reports say five are ‘code red’, or seriously injured.
Around 20 vehicles are believed to have plunged about 100m (328ft) into a river and an industrial area when a 200m (650ft) section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed at about 11.30am during a sudden and violent storm.
The dead include at least one child, reports the Corriere newspaper, quoting the Interior Ministry.
One of those rescued has been flown to hospital by helicopter, ANSA news agency reports.
Italian Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi told SkyNews24 the number of dead will rise.
“It’s not acceptable that such an important bridge… was not built to avoid this kind of collapse…The central section came down,” he said.
A fire service spokesperson told AFP that the bridge had mostly fallen on rail tracks below, taking “cars and trucks” with it
In the aftermath of the disaster, two large white lorries were pictured overturned and smashed into pieces, lying upturned with their wheels in the air, while rescue workers searched the area, which is covered with huge chunks of concrete and metal.
Another picture showed a white car flattened as if it had been in a crusher, one of its doors squeezed outwards and its windscreen missing.
Video showing parts of the structure falling has been posted to Twitter by local police and what appears to be flashes of electricity are visible as concrete columns shatter and drop into water.
Around 200 firefighters are responding to the accident and have told the Associated Press they are concerned about gas lines.
A witness told Sky Italia television he saw “eight or nine” vehicles on the bridge when it collapsed in what he called an “apocalyptic scene”.
Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said in a tweet that he was “following with great apprehension what seems like an immense tragedy”.
Video captured the sound of a man screaming: “Oh God, oh, God.”
Other pictures included one of a green truck that had stopped on the bridge just yards short of the gaping hole in the road surface.
The mayor of Genoa Marco Bucci said: “The collapse of the Morandi bridge is an immense tragedy for our city…but we must react immediately with strength and pride “.
The bridge is part of the A10 toll road which runs into the port city and is likely to have been busier than usual
Restructuring work on the bridge, which was constructed in the 1960s, was carried out in 2016.
The collapse is believed to have been caused by a structural weakness, the ANSA news agency said.
From – SkyNews