Funerals held for victims of Genoa bridge collapse

Funerals held for victims of Genoa bridge collapse

Five people are still unaccounted for following the collapse of a motorway bridge in the Italian port city of Genoa this week, the civil protection agency said on Friday, as rescuers continued to search for survivors under the rubble.

A few hours earlier, the bodies of an Italian couple and their 9-year-old daughter were found in their smashed auto under a big block of concrete, part of tons of material that crashed 150 feet to the ground and nearby areas when the heavily trafficked major highway span gave way.

Families of the two Albanian victims chose to have their loved ones' coffins join those of 17 Catholic dead at the state funeral celebrated Saturday by Genoa's archbishop.

Firefighters discovered the three bodies, reported to be those of a couple and their nine-year-old daughter, overnight inside a vehicle extracted from the rubble of the viaduct.

The viaduct was part of the A10 motorway linking the port city with the French border to the west and was managed by toll-road operator Autostrade per l'Italia, a unit of infrastructure group Atlantia (ATL.MI).

Italy's former leader Maurizio Martina - whose Democratic Party was in charge until past year - was jeered when he arrived at the ceremony in Genoa.

He had been at the midpoint of the bridge, driving across toward Genoa when it collapsed. According to Reuters, Giovanni Castellucci, the company's CEO, said it was "premature" to comment on the government's process of revoking concessions.

Families of 19 of the dead had their loved ones' coffins taken to the hall for the funeral mass led by Genoa's archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

Rescue workers uncovered four additional victims of the tragedy early Saturday, and a Genoa hospital says that a Romanian truck driver died in the evening.

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A separate funeral for four friends who died in the bridge collapse took place on Friday.

Before the state funeral ceremony began in a pavilion on Genoa's fairgrounds, President Sergio Mattarella offered quiet words of comfort for families of the victims.

Also attending were premier Giuseppe Conte and several cabinet members, including the transportation and infrastructure minister.

Both the Sampdoria and Genoa teams had already announced they wouldn't play their matches this weekend but at a later date.

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

"The bodies of the final three missing people were found overnight", Italy's fire service said on Twitter Sunday.

Mattarella did not speak at the funeral, held on a national day of mourning, but after the ceremony ended he told reporters the bridge collapse "is an unacceptable tragedy".

Autostrade would set aside around 500 million euros ($782 million) for disaster recovery, including funds for a new bridge and to help bereaved families and people who will have to leave their homes close to the viaduct for the reconstruction, Castellucci said. The bridge was having work done to shore up its foundations at the time, and there was also extremely heavy rainfall - but experts say it is too soon to draw any conclusions.

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