Firefighters Work to Rescue Survivors After a Bridge Collapse in Italy Takes Dozens of Lives

Late Tuesday night, a 200m (about 656 ft.) section of the Morandi bridge crumbled in Genoa, Italy, causing about 40 vehicles to fall over a hundred feet. As of Wednesday, August 15th, the death toll has risen to at least 35; 16 people are currently being treated in the hospital, 12 of which are in critical condition.

BBC reports that the Morandi bridge was part of a major road, the A10 toll motorway, which serves the Italian Riviera and links northern Italy to France. At this time of year, the bridge would have been exceptionally busy with not just Italians but foreign visitors on vacation.

The bridge was only constructed in the 1960s, but Italian media has reported the “prediction” of the bridge collapse by structural engineers and local industry officials for years. Although the official cause of the collapse is not yet clear, some officials believe the torrential rain and lightning at the time could have played a fatal role.

Emergency response teams continue to hold on to the hope that some survivors may be in the wreckage. Hundreds of firefighters worked overnight with lifting gear, climbing equipment, and sniffer dogs to try to locate more survivors. However, the Italian Red Cross has reported that so far only bodies have been found.

The city of Genoa has declared two days of mourning in wake of the tragedy.