Fury of victims’ families over Genoa bridge collapse as it emerges Italy’s governing party opposed repairs and said safety fears were a ‘ fairy story’ five years ago – but now plans to fine contractor $165million after 38 were killed

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
By Paul Martin

At least 38 people have been killed, 12 are in critical and several more are missing after Genoa bridge collapse
Government has called for heads of highway agency Autostrade to be fired and says it plans to fine the company 150million euros (£133million) for breach of contract
But it has emerged that the governing Five Star Movement opposed major building work on the bridge five years ago, describing warnings that it would collapse as a ‘fairy story’
Victims include husband, wife and their eight-year-old child, a young doctor and his nurse girlfriend, a Chilean chef and his wife, and three French tourists

15 August 2018

Italy’s governing Five Star Movement dismissed fears that the Morandi bridge in Genoa would collapse as a ‘fairy story’ while opposing repair work as a ‘waste of money’, it has emerged.

A now-deleted statement on the party’s website from 2013 argues against a project to improve Genoa’s highways – including the bridge – saying those who backed the plan showed ‘an embarrassing lack of critical sense.’

The plan is ‘an obsolete idea with exorbitant costs that, in the end, would fall entirely on citizens’ who would have to deal with a decade of building works and disruption, the statement says.

Five Star argued that the bigger threat to Genoa was from floods and landslides, while saying the money would be better spent creating a separate bridge for trucks and investing in public transport.

Repair work was eventually carried out on the bridge in 2016 but plans to rebuild it were shelved amid fears it would be too disruptive to locals.

The bridge collapsed on Tuesday morning killing at least 38 people and leaving another 12 in critical condition, with ‘several’ more still missing, according to Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini.

The statement emerged as Five Star, which is governing alongside the League party, vowed to fine highway agency Autostrade 150million euros (£133million) for breach of contract while calling for its bosses to be sacked.

Luigi Di Maio, current Five Star leader, said the disaster ‘could have been avoided’ and accused Autostrade of failing to carry out proper repair work while collecting some of the highest road tolls in Europe.

He also threatened to withdraw government funding from the company.

Those killed in the disaster include a family of three which was wiped out after being crushed by debris.

Roberto Robbiano, his wife Ersilia Piccinino, and their seven-year-old son Samuel all died when their car fell 150ft as the huge 260ft section of the 50-year-old Morandi bridge gave way about 11.30am on Tuesday.

Cars, tonnes of twisted steel and concrete debris fell into a river, railroad tracks and an industrial zone below, flattening vehicles and leaving rubble embedded in buildings.

The family from the town of Campomorone north of Genoa were just in the wrong place at the wrong time on the busy arterial road west of the city that was bustling with traffic.

Mr Robbiano, an electrician, married his wife in 2014 and frequently posted photos to his Facebook of his young son and the black-and-white family cat on adventures at home and on holiday.

Amateur football player Andrea Cerulli, the father of a young son, was killed on his way to work, according to friends who flooded social media with tributes after finding out about his death.

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