Leader demands safe roads after Italy bridge collapse

The Associated Press

GENOA, Italy — Italy’s president demanded guarantees Saturday that all the nation’s roads are safe following the Genoa highway bridge collapse, after he hugged and comforted mourners at a state funeral in the grieving port city.

President Sergio Mat­tarella spoke quietly to victims’ families before the ceremony began on Genoa’s fairgrounds. Usually re­served in demeanor, Mat­tarella was embraced tightly for a long moment by one distraught woman.

He then took his place with other Italian leaders, including Premier Giuseppe Conte and the transportation minister, in the packed yet cavernous hall.

Afterward, Mattarella called the funeral, which took place on a day of national mourning, “a mo­ment of grief, shared grief, by all of Italy.”

One mourner, a local man who would only give his first name, Alessandro, held a placard that read: “In Italy, we prefer ribbon-cuttings to maintenance” — referring to the country’s dilapidated infrastructure.

“These are mistakes that keep on repeating. And now, for the umpteenth time, angels have flown into heaven and paid for the mistakes of other human beings,” Alessandro said.

As the city honored its dead, the toll from Tues­day’s bridge collapse rose unofficially Saturday to 43 with the discovery of four more bodies in the rubble and the death in the hospital of the most severely injured survivor.

Firefighter Stefano Zanut told Sky TG24 TV they had extracted from tons of broken concrete the crushed car that an Italian couple on vacation with their 9-year-old daughter had been traveling in.

Zanut said the last body pulled out of the wreckage was that of a young Italian man, an employee of Gen­oa’s trash company, who was working under the bridge when it collapsed. The man’s mother had refused to leave a tent set up a few hundred yards away from the rubble until his body was found.

RAI state radio said authorities now believe there are no more missing in the tragedy.

Later, San Martino Hos­pital said a Romanian truck driver who had suffered severe cranial and chest injuries in the bridge collapse died Saturday evening.

The families of 19 victims their loved ones’ coffins brought to the hall for the funeral Mass led by Genoa’s archbishop, Cardinal An­gelo Bagnasco, who said the tragedy “gashed the heart of Genoa.”