Italian authorities are reporting that at least 25 people are dead after a massive section of a bridge in the city of Genoa collapsed during a rainstorm Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy’s civil protection agency, told reporters that at least 30 vehicles plunged nearly 150 feet, mostly onto rail tracks below. Borrelli said there were also two warehouses below the bridge, but they were both believed to have been closed for a summer holiday. At least 11 people have also been injured.
According to Reuters, the bridge, which was built in the 1960s, was undergoing maintenance work and was being monitored. The Italian news agency ASNA cited a 2011 report saying that that bridge was “suffering from decay”:
The report said that the “queues of cars and the volume of traffic provoke intense decay of the Morandi viaduct structure on a daily basis in the rush hours as it is subject to major demands.”
According to the AP, authorities believe that this weakness caused the collapse of the 260-foot stretch of the bridge, but there is no immediate explanation.
After the collapse, highway engineers started checking the safety of the bridge at other points, and some areas around the bridge were evacuated, Borelli said.
According to the AP, the traffic was heavier than normal on the bridge, which connected Italy to France and northern cities to the Italian Riviera, because it occurred just before a major Italian holiday.
Authorities are now working to remove the rubble and extract anyone who may have been trapped.