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Dozens on trial for 2018 fatal bridge collapse in Italy

Forty-three people died when a section of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa broke off during a violent rainstorm.

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Two victims’ mothers embrace outside the court (Antonio Calanni/AP)

Two victims’ mothers embrace outside the court (Antonio Calanni/AP)

Two victims’ mothers embrace outside the court (Antonio Calanni/AP)

Fifty-nine people have gone on trial for the 2018 collapse of Genoa’s Morandi Bridge, accused of manslaughter and other charges in the deaths of 43 people.

The defendants include former executives and experts of the company that manages many of Italy’s bridges and roads, as well as former officials of the Italian ministry of infrastructure and transport.

A huge section of the Morandi Bridge broke off during a violent rainstorm on August 14 2018, when roads were packed with holidaymakers, sending cars plunging into the dry riverbed below.

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The collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa (Antonio Calanni/AP)

The collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa (Antonio Calanni/AP)

AP/PA Images

The collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa (Antonio Calanni/AP)

Prosecutors have alleged the defendants knew the bridge, which was built in the 1960s, was at risk of collapsing and that corners were cut on maintenance to save money.

The bridge’s designer had recommended regular upkeep to remove rust, especially due to the corrosive effect of moist air from the nearby Ligurian Sea, and maintenance to counter the effect of pollution on concrete.

In April, a Genoa judge approved plea bargain requests by both the roads company, Autostrade per Italia, and the Spea engineering company, to pay 29 million euros (£25 million) to the Italian government in exchange for avoiding a trial.

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Prosecutors allege the defendants knew the bridge was at risk of collapsing (Antonio Calanni/AP)

Prosecutors allege the defendants knew the bridge was at risk of collapsing (Antonio Calanni/AP)

AP/PA Images

Prosecutors allege the defendants knew the bridge was at risk of collapsing (Antonio Calanni/AP)

The lawyer for former Austostrade chief executive Giovanni Castellucci, who is among the defendants, said the trial would show that the bridge collapsed not as a result of maintenance negligence but due to an original “construction defect”.

“This is why 43 people died in a terrifying and absurd way,” lawyer Giovanni Paolo Accinni told reporters outside the Genoa tribunal, the LaPresse news agency reported.

A replacement bridge, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, who is from Genoa, features 43 lamps in memory of the people who perished.

Starting today, justice and truth are closer and we hope will arrive quickly. It's the only way to rebuild the trust between citizens and the state that collapsed on that godforsaken August 14Governor of Liguria Giovanni Toti

The governor of Liguria, Giovanni Toti, said the start of the trial was important for the region but also relatives of the 43 victims.

“Starting today, justice and truth are closer and we hope will arrive quickly,” Mr Toti wrote on Facebook.

“It’s the only way to rebuild the trust between citizens and the state that collapsed on that godforsaken August 14.”

After the collapse, the Italian government forged a deal in which the Benetton fashion family agreed to sell its ownership stake in Autostrade.

After an hour of procedural motions, Judge Paolo Lepri adjourned the proceedings and set a new hearing for September 14 in a trial that is expected to take more than a year to reach any verdicts, LaPresse reported.


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