Genoa bridge collapse: Families jeer Italian politicians at state funeral

Some grieving relatives snubbed the service organised by the government, as death toll rises to 43 

Adam Forrest
Sunday 19 August 2018 00:51
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State funeral for Genoa bridge collapse victims

The families of those killed in the Genoa bridge collapse shouted and jeered at members of Italy’s former government at a state funeral for the victims.

President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte - both members of Italy’s new populist government – were welcomed by relatives attending the service.

But Maurizio Martina - secretary of the former ruling Democratic party – and former defence minister Roberta Pinotti were heckled by some of the thousands inside Genoa’s exhibition and trade centre.

Some relatives blame the previous Italian government for Tuesday’s tragedy, believing ministers bore some responsibility for safety failures.

Some shouted “buffone” – clown – at the former ministers as they arrived.

More than half of the grieving families had refused to take part in the funeral and mass organised by the state for victims of the disaster, as the death toll rose to 43.

Many are holding private ceremonies in Genoa and elsewhere in Italy. Newspaper La Stampa reported only 18 of the 42 victims’ families attended the state ceremony.

Roberto Battiloro, father of Giovanni Battiloro, who died alongside three of his friends, said: “The state has not protected its citizens.

“My son was killed [by] a mocking destiny but also [by] those who did not think that on that bridge there could be some children of today – desperate people.”

The unnamed father of one victim said his son “will not become a number in the catalogue of deaths caused by Italian failures. We do not want a farce of a funeral but a ceremony at home.”

President Sergio Mattarella attended today’s service

Archbishop Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco led the funeral, which coincided with a national day of mourning.

Mr Bagnasco said Pope Francis had called him to say he was praying for the victims and grieving families.

“The collapse of the Morandi bridge over the Polcevera stream has slashed the heart of Genoa, and the wound is profound,” said the cardinal.

Footballers from Serie A sides Genoa and Sampdoria were there to mourn the victims, and firefighters were applauded as they arrived. ​

The Italian authorities, meanwhile, updated the number of people killed in the tragedy to 43 after rescue workers found the bodies of four more victims, and Romanian lorry driver Marian Rosca, 36, died in hospital.

Three family members were discovered in a car overnight. The victims were named as Cristian and Dawna Cecala, and their nine-year-old daughter Krystal.

The body of a 30-year-old man was discovered on Saturday morning, according to Italian state radio.

Italy’s transport ministry has given Autostrade per l’Italia – the operator of the motorway bridge – 15 days to demonstrate how it fulfilled its contractual obligations in relation to the bridge. It has asked the company to pay to rebuild the structure.

Autostrade’s chief executive, Giovanni Castellucci, told reporters Saturday it has a plan to demolish what’s left of the largely concrete 51-year-old Morandi Bridge and build a “less imposing” steel one within eight months.

Italy’s government has begun procedures to revoke the company’s concession and has vowed that Autostrade per l’Italia will never run the nation’s roads again.

Mr Castellucci declined to talk about the government’s stance. He said even though the cause of Tuesday’s bridge collapse had not been determined, “we apologise” since “perceptions count”.

Prosecutors are focusing on possible design flaws or improper maintenance as an eventual cause for the disaster.

Additional reporting by agencies

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