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INCHES FROM DEATH

Italy Bridge collapse – Lorry teetering on edge of Genoa motorway was forced to brake when car overtook – then watched driver plunge 150ft

Rescue and recovery efforts continued through the night into the morning while authorities confirmed the death toll has risen to 38

A TRUCK driver who escaped certain death in the Genoa bridge disaster has told how his life was only saved when he was overtaken by another driver.

The 37-year-old revealed how he quickly slammed on his brakes when the car that shot past him toppled 150ft over the edge of the collapsed structure.

 The truck driver told how he slammed his brakes on after being overtook
Reuters
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The truck driver told how he slammed his brakes on after being overtook

The driver - named only as Luigi - said: "I saved myself because a car overtook me and I slowed down. I saw her fall with the others (and) I braked suddenly.

"I put the reverse gear on then I opened the door and I ran away. The truck stayed there with the engine running ".

The married father-of-two, who lives in Genoa, told pals how he stared "death in the face" and has been left devastated by his life-changing ordeal.

He is reported to have locked himself away with his family as he tries to get to grips with just how close he came to dying.

 Pictures show just how close the lorry came to toppling into the abyss
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Pictures show just how close the lorry came to toppling into the abyss
 Luigi revealed the road was busy at the time of the tragedy
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Luigi revealed the road was busy at the time of the tragedy
 The car that sped past the lorry toppled 150ft over the collapsed bridge
EPA
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The car that sped past the lorry toppled 150ft over the collapsed bridge

Luigi told friends how he was driving back to his warehouse in a storm after finishing his morning deliveries when disaster struck.

Although he escaped the shocking incident without a scratch friends fear it will still take him a long time to get over what happened on Tuesday morning.


WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:

  • At least 38 people are known to have died
  • 'Many' more have been seriously injured
  • Four people have been rescued alive
  • 35 cars and three heavy vehicles involved
  • A 200m stretch of the road collapsed
  • PM Giuseppe Conte is heading to Genoa

Photos of Luigi's Volvo supermarket delivery truck perched on the edge of the bridge made headlines around the world and videos of the vehicle show that its windscreen wipers are still running today.

And that could spell bad news for the emergency crews working at the horrific disaster scene today, say Luigi's bosses.

 The driver of the lorry has been left in total shock at how near he came to dying
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The driver of the lorry has been left in total shock at how near he came to dying
Inside one of the houses destroyed by the bridge collapse in Genoa
 The man- named only as Luigi - has locked himself away with his family
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The man- named only as Luigi - has locked himself away with his family

Annalisa Damonte, of haulage company Damonte Trasporti, told La Repubblica that "from the satellite we are able to see that the vehicle has three quarters of tank and it is still lit.

"It could go on like this three or four days (with)the risks of overheating ". On board the vehicle there are just under 400 litres of diesel.

Luigi had been working for the for the company for a year, but is said to have years of experience working as a truck driver.

Moroccan lorry driver, Afifi Idriss, 39, told Agence France-Presse: "I saw the green lorry in front of me stop and then reverse so I stopped too, locked the truck and ran."

 

 

 The lorry is full of fuel and there are fears it may overheat
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The lorry is full of fuel and there are fears it may overheat
 Teams with dogs are aiding search and rescue operations
AP:Associated Press
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Teams with dogs are aiding search and rescue operations
Firefighters dig through rubble looking for survivors at Genoa motorway bridge collapse

Valentina Galbusera, 43, a doctor, told La Stampa: "The bridge fell in front of me, not even 20m away, I avoided the collapse by only a couple of seconds.

"I felt the bridge was shaking and I tried to reverse. Then I got out of the car and started running."

Stories of the miracle escapes come as rescuers  - including specialist earthquake units - desperately search for survivors among the rubble of the huge structure - which collapsed without warning.

Rescue and recovery efforts continued through the night into the morning while authorities confirmed the death toll has risen to 38 .

Emergency workers searched through tons of concrete slabs and steel for survivors or bodies from the collapse a day earlier on the eve of Wednesday's summer Ferragosto holiday.

 The Genoa toll bridge pictured looking dilapidated just weeks prior to its collapse
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The Genoa toll bridge pictured looking dilapidated just weeks prior to its collapse
News reader Tom Bradby introduces the Genoa road bridge disaster on ITV News at Ten
 At least 38 people were killed in the horrific accident
EPA
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At least 38 people were killed in the horrific accident

Fire crews revealed no new survivors had been found overnight, but three more bodies had been discovered.

Teams with dogs are aiding search and rescue operations, but rescuers are not hearing or seeing any signs of life, he said, adding the situation around the bridge site is still dangerous.

Genoa police spokeswoman Alessandra Bucci said: “We are continuing with the rescue operations because we think there are other people alive under the rubble. We hope to find more people alive.”

 A night scene view showing the damages at the site of the viaduct
EPA
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A night scene view showing the damages at the site of the viaduct
 Rescue teams search for survivors among the rubble of the collapsed highway bridge
AP:Associated Press
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Rescue teams search for survivors among the rubble of the collapsed highway bridge
 Rescue teams worked throughout the night in the hunt for survivors
EPA
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Rescue teams worked throughout the night in the hunt for survivors
Moment Morandi bridge collapses in Genoa, Italy

Marcello de Angelis, who is co-ordinating the Italian Red Cross in the region, revealed the emergency services were treating the incident as if it were an earthquake.

He told the BBC: “There might be the possibility of some niches being created by the rubble itself, with people being protected by the rubble.

“The units that we have sent are the units that we use during earthquakes.

“So it is the same sort of situation, and also the risk of other collapses, obviously is the same.”

Close to 300 firefighters and emergency services personnel were involved in the operation on Tuesday, and up to twelve people are reportedly still missing.

 Specialist earthquake rescue teams have been called to the scene
AP:Associated Press
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Specialist earthquake rescue teams have been called to the scene
 The Italian authorities are calling on those who operate the bridge to resign
Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP
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The Italian authorities are calling on those who operate the bridge to resign
 A crying woman is embraced by a firefighter as she leaves the site
REUTERS
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A crying woman is embraced by a firefighter as she leaves the site

Fire service official Emanuele Gissi said: “We’re not giving up hope, we’ve already saved a dozen people from under the rubble.

“We’re going to work round the clock until the last victim is found.”

Italy's transport minister called on Wednesday for senior managers to resign at the company operating the bridge that collapsed in the port city.
 Teams with dogs are aiding search and rescue operations
EPA
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Teams with dogs are aiding search and rescue operations
Italian firefighters use thermal imaging drone to search for survivors of the Genoa motorway bridge collapse
 It has been reported there had been proposals to upgrade the 1967 bridge
Reuters
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It has been reported there had been proposals to upgrade the 1967 bridge

The government will also look into stripping Autostrade per l'Italia, a unit of the Atlantia group, of the concession to manage the motorway that included the Morandi Bridge, and imposing financial penalties on the group, Danilo Toninelli said.

Atlantia and Autostrade per l'Italia could not immediately be reached for comment

What caused an 80-meter (260-foot) long stretch of highway to break off from the 45-meter (150 foot) high Morandi Bridge in the northwestern port city is under investigation.

However, it has been reported there had been proposals to upgrade the 1967 bridge.

Italian PM Giuseppe Conte warns numbers of dead may increase after Genoa motorway bridge collapse as rescue effort continues through the night
 Three more bodies were found at the disaster scene during the night
EPA
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Three more bodies were found at the disaster scene during the night
 The death toll is likely to rise as multiple people remain missing
AP:Associated Press
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The death toll is likely to rise as multiple people remain missing

Among the dead was Roberto Robbiano, his wife Ersilia Piccinino and their son seven-year-old son Samuele, identified by local media, and who hailed from the Campomorone north of Genoa.

Roberto was a computer technician who married Ersilia in 2014.

Amateur football player Andrea Cerulli, has also been named among the victims.

His club, posted a picture of the sportsman on Facebook with the message: "Genoa club port is is running around Andrea's family, our associate, our friend, our colleague, victim of Ponte Morandi's tragedy."

It added: "Goodbye Andrea."

Luigi Matti Altadonna, 35, also perished in the freak tragedy, prompting an emotional message from the mayor of his hometown of Borghetto.

 The family were wiped out as they drove over the bridge in Genoa
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The family were wiped out as they drove over the bridge in Genoa
 The 50-year-old bridge collapsed after a violent storm
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The 50-year-old bridge collapsed after a violent storm
Aerial footage shows the aftermath of collapsed Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy
 Roberto was an electrician and married Ersilia in 2014
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Roberto was an electrician and married Ersilia in 2014
 Amateur football player Andrea Cerulli was killed driving over the bridge in his work van
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Amateur football player Andrea Cerulli was killed driving over the bridge in his work van
 Andrea's football team paid tribute to the dad-of-one
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Andrea's football team paid tribute to the dad-of-one
 Luigi Matti Altadonna, 35, also perished in the freak tragedy as he drove to work
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Luigi Matti Altadonna, 35, also perished in the freak tragedy as he drove to work

Mayor Borghettino Giancarlo Canepa said: "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."

Luigi died driving his work van over the bridge.

Mirko Vicini, a ground worker for waste management firm Amiu, was killed alongside an unnamed co-worker, by falling debris.

The pair were working on the island of Campi below the bridge.

Company director Tiziana Merlino said: "Among the bodies found in the rubble, a colleague engaged in the unit territorial unit.
"Damage is incalculable but never comparable to the pain that afflicts us for the loss of our colleague".

The Ponte Morandi road on the A10 motorway in northern Italy crashed onto houses and offices below at 11.30am local time during a "violent" lightning storm.

Italian footballer Davide Capello, 33, revealed how he fell 160 feet when he was driving over the doomed bridge.

Meanwhile, ITV anchorman Tom Bradby was slammed by viewers for his "insensitive" coverage of the tragedy.

Genoa footballer Domenico Criscito drives on Morandi bridge minutes before collapse


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