ROME – A bridge collapse in the Italian city of Genoa which killed at least 25 people has “bloodied” the summer holidays, according to the head of the country’s bishops’ conference.
Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia issued a statement expressing his “sadness and solidarity” after the tragedy in the northern city.
In the Aug. 14 statement, Bassetti said what should have been days of relaxation during summer vacation “are instead bloodied by a new drama, which heavily wounds entire families and communities.”
He offered his prayer and solidarity “during these painful hours,” and expressed his closeness to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa and President of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe.
“We are close,” he said, not only to Bagnasco, but “to his Church and his city, to the rescue workers and all those who are in mourning or anxiety for the loss of their loved ones.”
Bassetti made his statement after the collapse of Morani bridge, which was built in the 1960s. The bridge ran across the Polcevera stream and collapsed around noon local time during heavy rainfall. The section that fell was several hundred feet long.
Police believe the collapse was due to lightning and a violent cloudburst during the day’s stormy weather. Video footage of the scene shows one of the towers holding the suspension bridge up as vehicles fell some 328 feet into the stream below.
Italian Transport Minister, Danilo Toninelli, said the incident was “an immense tragedy.” So far, at least 25 people have been confirmed dead, including a child, and according to local ambulance services working on the ground, there could be more. Some 20 vehicles are believed to have been involved in the collapse, according to local media.
The Archdiocese of Genoa has organized two different prayer events for victims and those effected by the collapse. The first was scheduled to be held at the city’s Santa Zita parish, with a second at the Basilica of the Annunciation.
This article has been edited with a change in the number of casualties.