Bridge operator refuses to apologise as Italy mourns Genoa’s dead

Bridge operator refuses to apologise as Italy mourns Genoa’s dead
Copyright Reuters
By Pascale DaviesSallyann Nicholls
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Italy mourned 19 of the 43 people killed after a bridge collapsed in Genoa on Tuesday.


As mourners gathered in Genoa to commemorate the lives of those who died when Morandi bridge collapsed on Tuesday, bridge operator Autostrade per l'Italia promised to setup a compensation fund for victims and their families.

Speaking at their first news conference since the disaster on Saturday, Autostrade Chairman Fabio Cerchiai and Chief Executive Giovanni Castellucci said €500 million would also be earmarked to help the port city rebuild.

He added that the missing section of the bridge will be reconstructed in eight months with steel.

But when asked if they would apologise for the disaster, Castellucci responded: “Apologies and responsibilities are things that are connected. You apologise if you feel you are responsible”.

Mourners in Italy gathered at a state funeral on Saturday to commemorate some of the victims who died in Genoa.

On Tuesday, a 200-metre section of the Morandi bridge gave way, killing dozens.

Italian newswire ANSA reported Saturday that the death toll had been revised upwards from 38 to 43.

Autostrade per l'Italia CEO CastellucciREUTERS

Italy's President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte led mourners at the ceremony at a hall in the city.

However, some of the victims' families boycotted the mass and held their own private services in mounting anger against the state, who they see as failing to oversee the safety of the privately run bridge.

"The collapse of the bridge was a gash in the heart of Genoa, it's a deep wound," the archbishop said in his homily.

Emergency service members and police were welcomed to the ceremony with applause.

Some 10-20 people are still unaccounted for and observers at the scene said the chances of finding more survivors are looking increasingly slim.

More than 600 people have been evacuated from their homes over fears more of the bridge could collapse. Officials have decided the buildings will be demolished as it would be too dangerous to leave them there.

The disaster has sparked debate about Italy's infrastructure.

On Friday, Italy's government launched a formal procedure against Autostrade, which oversaw maintenance of the bridge.

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