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No rest for Genoa bridge disaster rescuers searching for survivors and victims

As many as 35 cars and three trucks were on a bridge in Genoa, Italy, when it collapsed in a driving rainstorm, sending the vehicles and concrete hurtling to the ground. Hundreds of firefighters and emergency workers searched through crushed cars, mangled steel and concrete debris for bodies and survivors. John Yang has our report.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The prime minister of Italy calls it an immense tragedy. At least 26 people died in today's bridge disaster in Genoa.

    John Yang has our report.

  • John Yang:

    The moment of horror captured on cell phone video as 260 feet of bridge collapsed in a driving rain storm. The elevated roadway plunged 150 feet, sending cars and concrete hurtling to the ground.

    This man was standing outside his truck beneath the bridge.

  • Man (through translator):

    I flew for about 10 meters. I hit a wall, and that's it, I don't remember anything else.

  • John Yang:

    The busy Morandi viaduct in Genoa sits on a key highway linking the city with Milan. It also connects to a thoroughfare for travelers heading west to France. Officials said as many as 35 cars and three trucks were on the bridge when it fell onto industrial buildings and into a nearby river.

    Hundreds of firefighters and emergency workers searched through crushed cars, mangled steel and concrete debris for bodies and survivors. Some were airlifted to hospitals by helicopter, while the hunt went on.

  • Alessandra Bucci (through translator):

    We are continuing with the rescue operations because we think there are other people alive under the rubble. We have extracted people from the rubble. Now, we are focusing on assisting the people, and later on, we will understand what caused the collapse of the bridge.

  • John Yang:

    The reinforced concrete span dated from 1967. It's one of thousands of bridges built across Italy in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Interior Minister Matteo Salvini promised that anyone responsible for the bridge failure will be held accountable.

  • Matteo Salvini (through translator):

    Now is the moment of relief, intervention, work, sweat and prayer. Tonight will have to be the time to find out who was responsible, the names and surnames of those who are guilty of unacceptable deaths.

  • John Yang:

    In the meantime, search teams are working into the night.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I'm John Yang.

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