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Rescue and recovery efforts continued through the night into the morning in Italy following the collapse of a highway bridge in Genoa, while authorities raised the death toll to 35 with three missing.

TRT World's Arabella Munro reports.

13 people were injured in the tragic collapse.


Lending support to the website was Antonio Brencich, a professor of reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa, highlighting the constant maintenance the bridge needed.

"I have gone over this bridge hundreds of times, and I commit to digging and finding out who is responsible for an unacceptable tragedy, because it's not possible that in 2018 you can work and die in these conditions", he said. "Morandi wanted to use a technology that he had patented that was no longer used afterwards and that showed itself to be a failure", said Brencich to Radio Capitale.

"I was driving along the bridge, and at a certain point I saw the road in front of me collapse, and I went down with the auto", he told TV news channel Sky TG24.

Some 30 people were killed on Tuesday when a vast span collapsed during a heavy rainstorm, sending vehicles and their drivers plunging 100 metres onto railway tracks below.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli told state television that the disaster pointed to a lack of maintenance.

He was apparently referring to the bridge's concession-holder, Italian motorway firm Autostrade, a unit of Atlantia group.

"The top management of Autostrade per l'Italia must step down first of all", Toninelli said in a Facebook post.

Investigators, meanwhile, were working to determine what caused an 80-meter (260-foot) long stretch of highway to break off from the 45-meter (150-foot) high bridge in the northwestern port city.

The man, who has not been named, told rescuers: "I saw the the road collapsing in front of me, with all the cars that were in front of me".

Some 60,000 vehicles would cross the Morandi Bridge every day; families on summer vacation, employees on their commute, and truckers ferrying goods from one side of the city to the other.

In Venezuela, another bridge designed by Mr Morandi "has also experienced problems during its life, so it could be that the design implies a need for a greater degree of maintenance than normal", said Mr Firth.

Mehdi Kashani, an associate professor in structural mechanics at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, said pressure from "dynamic loads", such as heavy traffic or strong winds, could have resulted in "fatigue damage" in the bridge's parts.

Building a new bridge could take years, however, and its importance as part of the main artery connecting the south of France and Italy meant that plans to get rid of the existing structure were postponed.

Eye-witness Ivan, 37, evacuated on Tuesday from the nearby building where he works, described the collapse as unbelievable.

The company that operates and maintains the highway, along with many other roads in Italy, said in a statement Tuesday that "stabilization" work was ongoing at time of the collapse.

Rescuers hunted for survivors among huge chunks of debris on Wednesday after a bridge collapse that killed 39, as furious government ministers rounded on the viaduct's operator, saying it should pay fines and compensation and lose its concession.