Toll rises to 42 in Italy bridge collapse ahead of funerals

Genoa bridge collapse

Rome - Italian authorities have removed the vehicles abandoned on the surviving part of Genoa's collapsed Morandi bridge, including a green truck that managed to stop just before plunging into the void.

Ansa said three bodies were found in a auto smashed under a huge block of concrete from the collapse on Tuesday. The 33-year-old said: "I heard a noise, a tiresome noise". The collapse has prompted fears over other ageing infrastructure in Italy and overseas, with Bulgaria announcing Thursday a plan to renovate more than 200 bridges while France has said one in three of national road bridges are in need of fix.

Since the tragic collapse, the country has been embroiled in an escalating row over assigning responsibility for the disaster, with leaders threatening to strip government contracts from the motorway operator in charge of the Morandi motorway bridge.

Mourners applauded firefighters and others involved in search-and-rescue efforts as they arrived for a day of national mourning.

The mass for 19 of the victims was held at the Exhibition and Trade Centre of the northern port city and led by the city's archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco. Several angry families rebuffed the offer of a state funeral and the cardinal of Naples was merciless in his condemnation of negligence by Italian officials.

A Swiss Re spokeswoman told Reuters: "We are already working with and will continue supporting our client in managing the impact of this tragic event on the victims and their families". Relatives of the dead stood beside the coffins, adorned with white and yellow roses, some with their hands on the caskets.

Sampdoria were due to host Fiorentina on Sunday evening while Genoa were scheduled to travel to AC Milan, but both games will now be played at a later date, the league announced on Thursday.

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Belgium and several other European Union countries also scored worse than Italy in a World Economic Forum survey of road infrastructure quality.

Anger and sadness erupted at the funeral Friday for four men in their 20s, all friends from the Naples seaside suburb of Torre del Greco, whose lives were snuffed out as they drove over the bridge heading to a vacation in Spain.

At that service, relatives angrily denounced authorities for what they claimed was a failure to keep the bridge safe. Prosecutors have said they are focusing either on possible design flaws or inadequate maintenance.

"It is also right that the rest of Serie A goes ahead and starts in other stadiums, that takes nothing away from the sense of closeness and fraternity that all of Italy showed it has in its soul as a nation that gets back on its feet every time", Ferrera said.

The bridge, built in the 1960s, is a main road in and out of Genoa, linking it to the A10 motorway and the road to France.

In an earlier tweet, the firefighters said their work continued without pause and that overnight they had recovered the wreckage of a auto involved in the collapse.

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