Italy mourns victims of Genoa bridge collapse with state funeral

World Today

Italy mourns those who died in a bridge collapse in Genoa. The death toll has risen to 43 after four more bodies were found in the rubble. Relatives and friends gathered at a state funeral, as investigators search for the cause.

CGTN’s Natalie Carney has the latest from Genoa.

Their caskets sat surrounded by those who loved them most. Nineteen in total, including two Albanians and one French national who was in Italy on holiday with his friends.

“The collapse of the Morandi bridge over the Polcevera river created a gash in the heart of Genoa,” said Genoa’s Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco.

“The wound is deep. It is made, above all, by the endless pain for those who have lost their lives and for the missing, for their family members, the wounded, the many displaced.”

Both Christian and Muslim prayers were offered, reflecting the religious diversity of the dead.

Family, friends, colleagues, complete strangers, all devastated about what the Italian President called an “absurd catastrophe.”

Many are still in shock.

“We do not want to believe it,” said a cousin of victim Edi Bokrina. “We still haven’t realized what happened. It will be more painful later on when we do.”

Members of the search and rescue teams were given standing ovations, while former members of the government were booed. Many feel they failed to give the country’s ailing infrastructure the financial attention it needed.

While the names of the victims being laid to rest in this state funeral are read out, some of the families of other victims blame the government for the horrific event that took place here in Genoa on Tuesday morning.

The government blames Autostrade Per L’Italia, the private company that was contracted to maintain the bridge.

Following the state funeral, Autostrade promised around $572 million towards reconstruction and compensation to those directly affected by the tragedy, but stopped short of taking any responsibility, saying the bridge was “safe”.

“The technical details are so complex that it’s up to investigators to figure out what happened and why and under which conditions,” said the company’s CEO, Giovanni Castellucci.

“So I can only repeat that we will do whatever we can to help the investigation move as quickly as possible. This is the only thing we can give to the justice system, except to add that we really suffer together.”

The government is threatening to revoke the company’s contract. The transport and infrastructure commission looking into the cause of the collapse has said a broken cable rod maybe to blame for the bridge coming down. Yet, these grieving family members are demanding more then just an explanation, they want action.

“We hope that justice will triumph,” said a relative of one victim. “The president gave us his condolences and we are pleased that he came. But his attendance is not enough. We need results, not only for our son, but for everyone.”

Meanwhile, early Saturday morning, a family of three including a nine-year-old girl was pulled out of the rubble, followed by another body rescuers describe as a 30-year-old man. He was believed to be the last missing person.