Coffins are wheeled out for funeral of Genoa bridge tragedy victims

Devastated families of Genoa bridge victims mourn by their coffins as rescuers search the rubble for up to 20 missing people and it’s revealed study warned the structure showed strange reactions to vibrations LAST YEAR

  • Funerals for some of the 38 victims of Tuesday’s bridge collapse in Genoa are being held today
  • Saturday has been declared a national day of morning and a state funeral for others will take place 
  • Flats and homes with 630 residents under or by the collapsed bridge will now have to be destroyed 
  • Italian government has ready proposal for new 100million euro bridge to be finished by 2019 
  • However they demand that private motorway maintenance company Autostrade foot the bill 
  • Transport Minister has given Autostrade 15 days to prove it has fulfilled its obligations and is not to blame 
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The first victims of the Genoa bridge collapse are being laid to rest today ahead of a national day of mourning and a state funeral on Saturday.

Friends and family members gathered to mourn at the coffins of some of the victims, including a family of three, a young father and a Chilean couple, as they laid in state at the Fiera di Genova exhibition center.

The confirmed death toll from the collapse of a 660-foot stretch of the bridge on Tuesday that sent vehicles plummeting 165 feet to the ground, remain at 38, but officials have said there still may be up to 20 people missing.

The funerals are being held as the battle of who to blame for the incident continues after Italian media revealed that an engineering study commissioned by Italian highway operator Autostrade last year warned about the state of the concrete-encased cable stays that held up the bridge.  


Mourning: Friends and family members gathered to mourn at the coffins a Chilean-born couple, which have been draped in the flag of their home country


Heartbreaking: The coffins of Roberto Robbiano and his  eight-year-old son Samuel, who died alongside with his wife and Samuel’s mother Ersilia Piccinino when their car fell 150ft, are seen ahead of their funeral




The coffins  of amateur football player Andrea Cerulli, the father of a young son who was killed on his way to work, left, and and 22-year-old Albanian national Marius Djerri, right, were put on display

The newspaper reports said the university study had found that the stays of the section of the bridge that later collapsed reacted to vibration ‘in a way that does not entirely conform with expectations and requires further investigation.’

The study said the anomaly in the stays’ reaction may have been linked to corrosion of metal in some cables.  

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Tomorrow’s state funeral will be held at Genoa’s Exhibition and Trade Centre, led by the city’s archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, and attended by President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

But some families have said they will boycott the event and hold their own private services, as a sign of protest against what they say was negligence that caused the bridge to collapse.

The government has declared Saturday a national day of mourning. The state funeral will be televised live and state broadcaster RAI said will not air any advertising as a sign of respect for the victims. 


Some families have said they will boycott tomorrow’s state funeral and hold their own private services, as a sign of protest against what they say was negligence that caused the bridge to collapse


Some of the victims are laid in state at the Fiera di Genova exhibition center on Friday ahead of the state funeral


The Italian government has declared Saturday a national day of mourning in the wake of Tuesday’s tragedy

Meanwhile, rescue workers continue to search through tons of concrete and steel from the collapsed highway bridge for a fourth day on Friday.

The chance of finding survivors at this stage is slim and the unstable mountains of debris is making the search operation dangerous, but rescue workers said they had not given up hope.

‘We are trying to find pockets in the rubble where people could be – alive or not,’ fire official Emanuele Gissi told AFP.

Genoa’s chief prosecutor has said that between ten and 20 people could still be missing under the huge piles of concrete.

Cranes and bulldozers are working to help clear the site as rescuers try to cut up and remove the biggest slabs of concrete.

‘We will then send in dogs and rescue workers to see if we can find any signs of life,’ Gissi added.   


Bizarre design: One of the pillars of the highway bridge which collapsed on Tuesday, killing at least 38 people, appears  to cut through a part of the roof of the building under it


Cutting it close: The bridge that collapsed in was considered a feat of engineering innovation when it was built, but its design is now being investigated as a possible contributor to its collapse

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    The bridge was considered a feat of engineering innovation when it was built five decades ago, but it came to require constant maintenance and its design is now being investigated as a possible contributor to its collapse.

    Italian prosecutors are now focusing their investigation into possible design flaws or inadequate maintenance of the bridge that opened in 1967. 

    Photos of the homes located underneath the surviving sections of the collapsed Morandi bridge show one of its pillars cutting through part of a roof on a block of flats underneath.

    The houses pre-dates the bridge and is appears to have been constructed with little consideration of the apartment blocks which it dwarfs.

    The blocks of flats underneath the Morandi bridge are now set to be destroyed, forcing 630 people out of their homes.

    The apartment buildings have been evacuated in the wake of the disaster due to the risk of further collapse, and on Thursday evening the first residents of some buildings in the affected area were allowed to return home.

    While the possibly flawed design is being investigated, the Italian government has pinned the blame on Autostrade per L’Italia, the private company contracted to maintain and operate the motorway bridge. 

    Interior Minister Matteo Salvini demanded that the company offer up to 500 million euros (£448million) to help families and local government deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

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      Residents are helped by firefighters as they get their belongings from their evacuated homes in Genoa


      The first residents of some buildings in the affected area were allowed to return home yesterday


      Lucky: Hundreds live in the flats which came before the bridge, and are now likely to be demolished after the collapse


      A rescue worker looks up at apartment buildings immediately under the collapsed Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa


      A broken section of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa are pictured immediately above blocks of apartment buildings


      Evacuated: Hundreds of residents living in the shadow of what remains of the Morandi bridge have had to be evacuated and may now lose their homes

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        ‘If we’ve put up five million euros, they should offer 500 million,’ he told reporters. ‘There needs to be an immediate, concrete and tangible signal for these families: they should put their hands on their hearts and in their wallets.’  

        Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli said yesterday that he has given Autostrade 15 days to prove that it has fulfilled its obligations and is not to blame for the collapse.

        He said reconstruction of the key artery should begin ‘as quickly as possible’, and wants Autostrade to carry it out at its own expense. The highway bridge was a link between two major highways, one going to France and the other to Milan.  

        Autostrade, which estimates it will take five months to rebuild the bridge, denies scrimping on motorway maintenance, saying it has invested over one billion euros a year in ‘safety, maintenance and strengthening of the network’ since 2012. 

        Atlantia, the holding company that owns Autostrade, has slammed the threats to revoke its concessions and warned that the government would have to refund the value of the contract, which runs until at least 2038. 

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          Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli said in a Facebook post that lodgings will be found for the residents, but that ultimately their apartments might have to be destroyed




          A young family and other local residents wait by their homes amid fears further sections of the bridge could collapse


          Waiting game: A woman holding a baby waits by the police cordons in the hopes that she may be allowed back into her home after she and some 630 others were evacuated after the Morandi bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy


          Rescuers work among the rubble and wreckage of the Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa early Friday morning, three days after the section collapsed


          Still hope:  The chance of finding survivors at this stage was slim and the unstable mountains of debris made the search operation dangerous, but rescue workers said they had not given up hope


          Devastation: At least 38 people have died after a 260ft section of the Genoa highway bridge suddenly collapsed during a storm on Tuesday


          Broken: A satellite image shows the collapsed section of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, northern Italy 

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            The blame game: Who is responsible for the deadly Genoa bridge collapse?

            The exact cause of Tuesday’s disaster in Genoa, the latest in a string of bridge collapses in Italy, is not yet clear but Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli has sworn that ‘those responsible will have to pay.’

            The finger has been pointed in several directions, namely Autostrade Per Italia, the private company that operates many of Italy’s toll highways.

            Italy’s deputy premier, Luigi Di Maio accused the Benetton group, which through its £6million holding company Atlantia controls Autostrade Per Italia, of pocketing profits instead of investing money for maintenance. 


            No fairy story now: Italian Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio, center right, and Italian Transport and Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli, center left with glasses, speak to the media in front of the collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa, northern Italy

            Di Maio’s Five Star Movement party, which is governing alongside the League party, vowed to fine highway agency Autostrade 150million euros (£133million) for breach of contract while calling for its bosses to be sacked. 

            However, Di Maio’s own party dismissed fears that the Morandi bridge in Genoa would collapse as a ‘fairy story’ while opposing repair work as a ‘waste of money’ as recently as 2013.

            A now-deleted statement on the party’s website argues against a project to improve Genoa’s highways – including the bridge – saying those who backed the plan showed ‘an embarrassing lack of critical sense.’

            The plan is ‘an obsolete idea with exorbitant costs that, in the end, would fall entirely on citizens’ who would have to deal with a decade of building works and disruption, the statement says. 

            Repair work was eventually carried out on the bridge in 2016 but plans to rebuild it were shelved amid fears it would be too disruptive to locals.






            Men in charge: Paolo Berti, the Operations and Maintenance manager of Atlantia, Stefano Marigliani, the director of the Genoa stretch of carriage way and Giancarlo Guenzi, Altantia’s chief financial officer are being accused of not ensuring maintenance of the bridge was up to date while pocketing huge salaries

            One of the people singled out at responsible for the disaster is one of Atlantia’s well-paid and sharply-dressed executives with a reported love of fast cars and tropical beaches.

            Paolo Berti, 47, from Milan, is the Operations and Maintenance manager of Atlantia, and therefore directly responsible for maintaining the Morandi Bridge – and the scores of other motorway structures – that span Italy’s mountainous landscape.

            The others are Stefano Marigliani, the director of the Genoa stretch of carriage way and Giancarlo Guenzi, Atlantia’s chief financial officer with responsibility of approving – or refusing –maintenance budgets. 

            Atlantia is a public company listed on the Milan Stock Exchange.

            It’s largest single shareholder is Sintonia, an investment vehicle of the Benetton family – known for their international fashion brand. Billionaire Gilberto Benetton, 77, one of the founders of United Colors of Benetton Sisley, is a director of Atlantia. 

            Several people are now asking what role of the executives – who each earn in excess of £100,00 per year – played in the up-keep of the ruined structure.

            Atlantia said on its website today that it has spent 11.4 billion euros (£10.17bn) to improve 923km (574 miles) of Italian motorways, and was waiting for approval from authorities to build a bypass around Genoa. 

            Local politician have also been accused of failing the people of Genoa, by refusing to allocate funds to carry out vital maintenance work on the crumbling bridge. 

            In December 2016, Genoan newspaper Il Secolo XIX claimed maintenance of bridges in the area had been lacking funds because authorities ‘preferred to allocate more funds to new works’.

            The paper accused officials in the Liguria region of only making important restorations when issues with bridges had become obvious. 

            In addition, some have sought to blame the local Mafia, citing urban legends of crime bosses selling bad concrete with not enough cement, and known incidents of the Mafia infiltrated the Italian construction industry.

            The government has already filed the plans for a new replacement bridge, which they want Autostrade to pay for.

            It is set to cost 100 million euros, be two lanes wider than the old bridge, and could be finished by 2019, La Stampa reports.

            The parts of the bridge still standing, as well as the flats, will have to be destroyed to make way for the new overpass, which could either be built in the same spot or further along the rail tracks.

            All that remains, the newspaper said quoting Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio, is to ensure the work can begin – meaning a promise from Autostrade that they will foot the bill for the new bridge. 

            The structure is a cable stayed bridge designed by late Italian engineer Riccardo Morandi, using reinforced and prestressed concrete. 

            Among its unusual features were its concrete-encased stay cables, which Morandi used in several of his bridge designs instead of the more common steel cables. There are two similar bridges in the world, in Libya and Venezuela.



            Eerie: The bridge pictured weeks before its collapse shows it looking dilapidated with cables hanging from the sides


            Photos from Google Maps showed the bridge with what appeared to be spot repairs in the months leading up to the collapse, as it had been under repair since 2016.

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              Experts have said a number of factors could have contributed to the collapse, including wear and tear from weather and traffic that surpassed what the bridge was originally built to sustain.

              Antonio Brencich, a professor of construction at the University of Genoa, said the design lent itself to swift corrosion and the bridge was in constant need of maintenance.

              Most recently, a 20 million-euro (£17.9million) project to upgrade the bridge’s safety had been approved before its collapse, with public bids to be submitted by September. 

              According to the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore, the improvement work involved two weight-bearing columns that support the bridge – including one that collapsed Tuesday.

              But Brencich, who warned two years ago that the design of the bridge was a failure, said the structure should have been destroyed rather than be subjected to more repairs.

              The 38 people killed when Genoa’s Morandi bridge came down

              The Morandi bridge in Genoa collapsed around 11.30am on Tuesday while it was packed with commuters, truck drivers and holidaymakers all making their way through the busy port city.

              The dead come from all walks of life and all corners of the globe, united by nothing other than the fact that they happened to be on the same 650ft section of bridge at the fateful moment it came crashing down.

              Four friends on a holiday road trip

              Matteo Bentornati, a freelancer videographer, Giovanni Battiloro, Gerardo Esposito, and Antonio Stanzione were due to fly to France but chose to drive instead at the last minute.

              The foursome were due to spend their holidays shuttling between Nice and Barcelona but never made it over the border from their home county.


              Gerardo Esposito was among four Italian men in their 20s driving on holiday to Nice in France when the Morandi bridge collapsed underneath them on Tuesday, leaving them dead




              Giovanni Battiloro, a freelance videographer also believed to be in his 20s, was inside the car when it was buried under the rubble. The men had been planning to fly to France but at the last minute decided to drive instead




              Matteo Bertonati (left) and Antonio Stanzione (right) were also inside the same car and died. They last contacted their parents at 11am on Tuesday to say ‘entering Genoa’, around half an hour before they died

              A family of four wiped out days after their honeymoon

              Andrea Vittone, 49, his wife Claudia Possetti, 48, and their children Manuele and Camilla Bellasio, aged 16 and 12 were all in their black Volkswagen Golf together when it plummeted with the bridge.

              The couple married just three weeks ago and were taking a family holiday to the Sea of ​​Sestri Levante from Pinerolo, since they had a few days of holiday left after their honeymoon in California.

              They left early to make the 125-mile journey to their seaside spot, putting them on the bridge at exactly the wrong moment.


              Andrea Vittone, 49, his wife Claudia Possetti, 48, and their children Manuele and Camilla Bellasio, aged 16 and 12 were all in their black Volkswagen Golf together when it plummeted with the bridge

              Young family on the way to a beach holiday

              Roberto Robbiano, his wife Ersilia Piccinino, and their eight-year-old son Samuel, who was one of the first to be found in the rubble, all died when their car fell 150ft.

              Mr Robbiano, a computer technician, married his wife in 2014 and frequently posted photos to his Facebook of his young son and the black-and-white family cat on adventures at home and on holiday.

              He posted that they were excited to head to the seaside, their car laden with beach toys for Samuel to play with in the sand. Their crushed car was found under the remains of a concrete beam, along with the boy’s Spiderman ball.


              Roberto Robbiano, his wife Ersilia Piccinino, and their eight-year-old son Samuel, who was one of the first to be found in the rubble, all died when their car fell 150ft 


              Their car fell 150ft as the a huge 260ft section of the 50-year-old Morandi bridge gave way about 11.30am on Tuesday

              Engaged medical professionals soon to be married 

              Alberto Fanfani, 32, an anesthesiologist, and his fiancee Marta Danisi, 29, a nurse, were also pulled from the rubble. The pair were engaged and due to marry next year.

              The Mayor of Sant’Agata di Militello, Bruno Mancuso, announced a day of mourning on Facebook.

              ‘I am shocked and saddened by the terrible tragedy that struck one of our fellow citizens, the young Marta Danisi, who died as a result of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa,’ he wrote.

              ‘The same fate befell her boyfriend, who was in the car with her. On behalf of the whole community, I express my deepest sorrow and closeness to her family members for this great pain, and the unfillable emptiness that has struck them.’


              Alberto Fanfani, 32, an anesthesiologist who was originally from Florence, was also killed in the crash along with his fiancee Marta Danisi, 29, a nurse. The pair were due to be married next year

              Three workers crushed to death as they toiled below

              Bruno Casagrande and Mirko Vicini, who both worked for environment agency Amiu were both crushed to death, as was Alessandro Campora, 46, who was employed by private firm Aster.  

              ‘The damages are invaluable but nothing compared to the pain for the lives lost,’ Amiu director Tiziana Merlino said. The firm shut down work in the area indefinitely.

              Mr Casagrande and Mr Vicini were looking forward to a better future after a period of unemployment was ended by recent seasonal contracts with the firm.


              Mirko Vicini (picutred), an environment company worker, was underneath the bridge alongside colleague Bruno Casagrande when the bridge came down, killing both of them

              Young lovers on a romantic getaway

              Stella Boccia, 24, was buried in the wreckage along with Dominican boyfriend Carlos Jesus Truillo, 23, a waiter. 

              ‘We apologise to our customers, but we will be closed for mourning. Unfortunately a piece of our hearts remains under the rubble of the Genoa bridge,’ Ms Boccia’s mother wrote upon hearing the news.

              The pair had not been dating long, meeting by working on the same street, Ms Boccia at a restaurant and Mr Truillo at a Foot Locker store yards away.




              Stella Boccia, 24, was also killed alongside her Dominican boyfriend Carlos Jesus Trullio, 23, who was a waiter. The pair were returning from a vacation when they died

              French trio on their way to Sardinia

              A young French couple – Nathan Gusman, 20, and Melissa Artus, 22 – who were driving from Montpellier in France to Sardinia on a route that took them across the bridge were killed along with Axelle Nemati Alizè Plaze, also 20.


              Nathan Gusman, 20, and Melissa Artus, 22, both tourists from France, were on a road trip from Montpellier to Sardinia alongside friend Nemati Alizè Plaze, 20, when they died. The trio were following a route which took them across the bridge


              Axelle Nemati Alizè Plaze, 20, from France, was riding in the car with her friends when it plunged into the riverbed

              A woman who loved to celebrate life

              Elisa Bozzo, 34, used her Facebook page to write ‘how can I not celebrate life!’ not long before the tragedy, but on Tuesday desperate friends were using the same site to appeal for her whereabouts.

              The search was in vain, however, as she was pronounced dead on Wednesday morning.


              Elisa Bozzo, 34, used her Facebook page to write ‘how can I not celebrate life!’ not long before the tragedy, but on Tuesday desperate friends were using the same site to appeal for her whereabouts

              Chileans who made a new life for themselves in Italy

              Also pulled from the rubble were the remains of Juan Carlos Pastenes, 64, a Chilean chef who had lived in Italy for three decades, along with his wife Nora Rivera.

              Juan Figueroa, 60, a fellow Chilean, who had lived in Italy for at least two decades, was also killed.


              Chef Juan Carlos Pastenes, 64 (left) and his wife Nora Rivera (right), who are originally from Chile but had lived in Italy for three decades, also perished alongside fellow Chilean Juan Figueroa, 60, who had also spent decades living in Italy

              Killed while driving for work

              Marian Rosca, a 36-year-old truck driver from Romania, was living and working in France to save up money to get married and build a house for his new wife back home when he died.

              Marius Djerri, 22, and Edy Bokrina, from Albania, were in a van on their way to a cleaning job when they perished.

              Luigi Matti Altadonna, 35, a father-of-four who sold computer games, was completing his last delivery of the morning when he plunged to his death inside his work van. 

              ‘The municipal administration joins the pain of Giovanni, a model citizen and an exemplary volunteer of the Civil Protection Section of Borghetto, for the loss of his dear nephew in the terrible tragedy of Genoa’. Mayor Borghettino Giancarlo Canepa said.


              Luigi Matti Altadonna, 35, a father-of-four who sold computer games, was completing his last delivery of the morning when he plunged to his death inside his work van


              Marian Rosca, a 36-year-old lorry driver from Romania, was living and working in France to save up money to get married and build a house for his new wife back home when he was killed

              Mr Altadonna was driving his work van over the bridge when it collapsed under him. Rescuers scrambled to free him from the wreckage but he could not be saved.

              Colleague Gianluca Ardini, 29, who was riding in the van with him and is due to become a father next month, escaped with only a dislocated shoulder after clinging on to metal wires.

              Gennaro Sarnataro, 43, a father-of-two and truck driver, was also killed on the bridge as he returned from a fruit and vegetable delivery to France.

              ‘He was a great worker, a decent person,’ his family said as they identified his body at the morgue.


              Marius Djerri, 22 (left), a football player from Albania, was also killed in the collapse alongside colleague Edy Bokrina. The pair were traveling in a work van to complete a cleaning job when they died


              Gennaro Sarnataro, 43, a father-of-two and truck driver, was also named among those killed on the bridge

              Football player who leaves behind a young son 

              Amateur football player Andrea Cerulli, the father of a young son, was killed on his way to work, according to friends who flooded social media with tributes after finding out about his death.

              ‘Genoa Club Portuali Voltri rallying around Andrea’s family, our associate, our friend, our colleague, victim of Ponte Morandi’s tragedy,’ his football club wrote on its Facebook page.


              Amateur football player Andrea Cerulli, the father of a young son, was killed on his way to work, according to friends who flooded social media with tributes after finding out about his death


              ‘Genoa Club Portuali Voltri rallying around Andrea’s family, our associate, our friend, our colleague, victim of Ponte Morandi’s tragedy,’ his football club wrote on its Facebook page

              Motorbike champion killed on the road

              Giorgio Donaggio, a motorbike champion, father-of-three, and boat-builder, was mourned by Italian celebrity cyclist and TV presenter Vittorio Brumotti, who credited his ‘great friend’ with helping to launch his career.

              ‘My great friend Giorgio Donaggio, himself a motorcycle trial champion, was lost in the Genoa bridge disaster. He’s been my idol since I was a child and it’s also thanks to him that I am what I am today. RIP Super George,’ he wrote. 




              Giorgio Donaggio, a motorbike champion and boat-builder, was killed in the collapse as was Alessandro Robotti, 50 (right). Mr Robotti’s wife, Giovanna Bottaro, 43, is missing but presumed dead

              A doctor’s son who loved to gaze at the stars 

              Alessandro Robotti, 50, was the son of a doctor and until recently manager of the municipal pharmacy of Arquata, and one of the founders of a group of astronomy enthusiasts.

              ‘Now you can see your beloved stars up close,’ a tribute on his Facebook page read.

              His wife Giovanna Bottaro, 43, who worked for Capriata D’Orba, is still missing but presumed dead. 

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                  Chris Watts makes appeal over missing family before his arrest

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                  Aretha Franklin’s ex-husband ‘held onto hope’ during last visit

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                  Synthetic marijuana causes 76 people to overdose in New Haven

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                  Aretha Franklin, legendary ‘Queen of Soul,’ has died at age 76

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                  Aretha Franklin the legendary Queen of Soul in memoriam

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                  Trump revokes security clearance of former CIA director Brennan

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                  Shocking moment barmaid attacks woman for slapping her on the bum

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