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Search for survivors after Italian motorway collapse kills at least 26

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Firefighters searched into the night on Tuesday for survivors and bodies amid the rubble of a motorway bridge that collapsed in the northern Italian port city of Genoa, killing at least 26.

While that remained the official death toll, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said from Genoa that the number would rise. The ANSA news agency reported that it could reach around 35, citing fire brigade sources.

A 50-metre (160-foot) high section of the bridge, including a tower that anchored several stays, crashed down with as many as 35 vehicles driving on it in torrential rain. Huge slabs of reinforced concrete plunged onto two warehouses, train tracks and a riverbed.

In its latest update, the government of the Liguria region tweeted that 19 bodies had already been identified and 15 people had been admitted to hospital, nine in critical condition.

More than 400 people were evacuated from buildings near or below the still-standing section of the bridge. The collapse appeared not to have killed anyone beneath the bridge, only people driving over it, the civil protection agency said.

Firefighters heard voices under the rubble and pulled out seven survivors, fire official Bruno Frattasi told the state broadcaster RAI.

“We hope to find more people alive,” police official Alessandra Bucci said.

Within hours of the disaster, the anti-establishment government that took office in June said the collapse showed Italy needed to spend more on its dilapidated infrastructure, ignoring EU budget constraints if necessary.

“We should ask ourselves whether respecting these limits is more important than the safety of Italian citizens. Obviously for me, it is not,” said Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the right-wing League, which governs with the 5-Star Movement.

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