An Italian footballer driving across the doomed Genoa motorway bridge when it collapsed leaving at least 35 people dead has relived his miracle escape.
Ex-goalkeeper Davide Capello is among the survivors of the tragedy which has plunged Italy into mourning and sparked a huge investigation.
Capello, 33, thought he was going to die and could only watch in terror as the road disappeared before his eyes sending his car plummeting to the ground.
“I was convinced it was going to end badly,” the ex-pro goalkeeper, who now plays for amateur side Legino, told local media from hospital.
“But thank God Ia??ve lived to tell the tale.”
A?A?A?A?A?A?A? He said tonight: a??It’s incredible that I’m still alive. It’s a miracle.”
So far 22 people have been confirmed dead, but the number is expected to rise to more than 35 as more bodies are recovered from the rubble.
Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini, has vowed to make those responsible for the disaster “pay”. A fatal flaw in its construction or wear and tear may be to blame, experts say.
A?A?A?A?A?A?A? Capello, who now works as a firefighter, has described the “apocalyptic scene” he was rescued from.
“I heard a noise and then it all collapsed,” he said.
“My car fell 30 metres and got stuck in the rubble. Some people helped me to get out.
a??I still don’t understand how my car wasn’t crushed. It was shocking.
a??It’s incredible that I’m still alive. It’s a miracle a?? I don’t have a single scratch.”
Dozens of cars and lorries plummeted up to 300ft when a huge 260ft section of the 50-year-old Morandi bridge gave way about 11.30am today.
A baby and 10-year-old child were among victims of the horror.
Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said the collapse appeared to be a??an immense tragedya??.
In a video clip, a man can be heard screaming: a??Oh God, oh God, oh God.a?? Some witnA?esses said the bridge was hit by lightning.
Flashes could be seen as huge concrete columns fractured and fell.
Cheap vermox syrup A?A?A?A?A?A?A? However, despite speculation that during the torrential rain lightning struck the bridge and may have been to blame, one expert disputes this is the case.
“For such a bridge to collapse it has to be something serious that went unnoticed in maintenance and inspections,” Agathoklis Giaralis, deputy director of the University of London’s Civil Engineering Structures Research Centre, told MailOnline .
Meanwhile, witness Alessandro Megna was stuck in a traffic jam below. He said: a??Suddenly the bridge came down with everything it was carrying.
a??It was really an apocalyptic scene, I couldna??t believe my eyes.a??
Police linked the disaster to a a??violent cloudbursta?? and a a??structural failurea??. Nearly 300 emergency workers attended the scene, some with sniffer dogs to help search the rubble for victims.
Heavy lifting gear also arrived to remove pieces of the bridge. Firefighters were worried about gas pipes exploding in the area due to the collapse.
Sixteen injured people were taken from the scene by air ambulance, five seriously injured. At least four people were pulled alive from the twisted concrete and steel.
A train packed with passengers arriving from Genoa airport had been scheduled to pass under the bridge 10 minutes after it collapA?A?sed. One image posted by regional emergency services showed a truck perched close to the end of a section of bridge still standing.
Two HGVs were pictured overturned, wheels in the air and smashed into pieces, as rescue workers searched the area. Another image showed a white Renault saloon completely flattened.
The tragedy came on the eve of major Italian holiday Ferragosto, meaning traffic would have been heavier than usual as many people travelled to beaches or the mountains.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte headed to the disaster scene and put the army on standby to assist with rescue efforts.
Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi said: a??Ita??s not acceptable that such an important bridge… was not built to avoid this kind of collapse.
a??People living in Genoa use this twice a day, we cana??t live with infrastructures built in the 1950s and 60s.a??
The bridge opened in 1967, spans the Polcevera river, a railway line, residential property and industrial units. The highway is a major artery to the Italian Riviera and to Francea??s southern coast. Restructuring work was carried out on the bridge in 2016.
It had suffered cracks and deterioration of its prestressed reinforced concrete structure.
A?A?A?A?A?A?A? ASPI, operator of the A10 toll motorway, said work to shore up the foundation of the bridge was being carried out at the time of the collapse.
It said it was too soon to determine the cause. Stefano Marigliani, ASPI chief for the area, added: a??The collapse was unexpected and unpredictable.
a??The bridge was constantly monitored, even more than was foreseen by the law. There was no reason to consider the bridge dangerous.a?? Italya??s anti-establishment coalition government, which took office in June, said the country needed to spend more on its dilapidated infrastructure, ignoring EU budget constraints if necessary.
Deputy PM Matteo Salvini said: a??We should ask ourselves whether respecting these budget limits is more important than the safety of Italian citizens. Obviously for me, it is not.a?? The nation spent more than A?12.5billion on its roads in 2006 but that slumped to A?3.5billion by 2010.
It only rose to A?5billion in 2015, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development data showed.
The Genoa bridge was the work of Italian civil engineer Riccardo Morandi, who died in 1989. Another Morandi bridge in Venezuela, built to a similar design, partially collapsed in 1964 after being hit by an oil tanker. The Genoa one is an unusual design and was constantly being repaired.
Antonio Brencich, an engineering professor at the University of Genoa, said in July 2016: a??The Morandi bridge is referred to as a masterpiece of engineering; in reality it is a bankruptcy.
a??There will be a time when maintenance costs will exceed those of reconstruction, and then we will have to proceed with the replacement.a??
Ian Firth, past president of the Institution of Structural Engineers, said: a??It is too early to say what caused the tragic collapse, but as this reinforced and prestressed concrete bridge has been there for 50 years it is possible that corrosion of tendons or reinforcement may be a contributory factor.a??
It is the latest in a string of bridge collapses in Italy. Last March, a couple were killed when a motorway
overpass collapsed on their car near Ancona on the Adriatic coast.
And a motorist died in 2016 when a bridge collapsed on the dual carriageA?A?way between Milan and Lecco.