At least 11 people — including a child — were reportedly killed when a raised highway in Genoa crumbled during a sudden and violent storm, sending several vehicles plunging to the ground as rescuers desperately searched for survivors.
Italian news agency ANSA, citing the Interior Ministry, said at least five people were injured in the incident that Italian officials said was likely “an enormous tragedy.”
About a 650-foot section of the Morandi bridge, part of the A10 highway that connects Italy to France, collapsed over an industrial zone just after 12 p.m. local time, private broadcaster Sky TG24 said. About 20 vehicles were involved, firefighter Amalia Tedeschi told RAI state TV.
“We are following minute by minute the situation of the bridge collapse in Genoa,” Interior Minister Matteo Salvini wrote on Twitter.
Italy’s transport minister Danilo Toninelli told reporters the bridge collapse is likely to be “an enormous tragedy.”
Tedeschi said two people were pulled from the rubble alive as rescuers searched the scene for survivors.
Images posted by state police and witnesses showed a huge section of the bridge missing and crushed trucks and cars. Parts of the structure also landed on the rooftops of nearby buildings. Video captured the sound of a man screaming: “Oh, God, oh, God!”
The exact cause of the collapse was unclear, though authorities suspect there was a structural weakness, ANSA reported. Firefighters said they are concerned about gas lines in the area.
The bridge was built in the 1960s. It’s an interchange between the northern regions of Lombardy and Piedmont and the beaches of Liguria.
The collapse also occurred on the eve of Ferragosto, a major Italian holiday. Authorities said traffic on the bridge was expected to be higher than usual because many people travel to beaches or mountains during the holiday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.