AP

Trial opens in deadly collapse of Italy’s Morandi Bridge

Jul 7, 2022, 3:19 AM | Updated: 6:49 am

Maria Grazia Lonigro, right, and Mimosa Burkina, mothers of Luigi Matti Altadonna and Admir two of ...

Maria Grazia Lonigro, right, and Mimosa Burkina, mothers of Luigi Matti Altadonna and Admir two of the 43 victims greet each other outside the Genoa's Palace of Justice on opening of the first hearing of the trial for the Morandi bridge collapse, Thursday, July 7, 2022. Forty-three people were killed when a large stretch of the Morandi Bridge broke off, August 14, 2018, on the eve of one of Italy's biggest vacation holidays. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

(AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

GENOA, Italy (AP) — Fifty-nine people went on trial Thursday for the 2018 collapse of Genoa’s Morandi bridge, accused of manslaughter and other charges in the deaths of 43 people.

The defendants include former executives and technical experts of the company that manages many of Italy’s bridges and highways, as well as former officials of the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

A huge section of the Morandi bridge broke off during a violent rainstorm on Aug. 14, 2018, when highways were packed on the eve of Italy’s biggest summer holiday, sending cars plunging into the dry riverbed below.

Prosecutors have alleged the defendants knew the bridge, which was built in the 1960s, was at risk of collapsing and that corners were cut on maintenance to save money.

The bridge’s designer had recommended regular upkeep to remove rust, especially due to the corrosive effect of moist air from the nearby Ligurian Sea, and maintenance to counter the effect of pollution on concrete.

“There are elements that prove that, since 2013, it was written in documents that the Morandi bridge was at risk of collapsing,” said Egle Possetti, a member of the committee of relatives of Morandi victims who attended the hearing.

“In five years, nothing was done. This is unacceptable. So we will fight, as relatives and civil parties, so that this trial will give justice to our families and respect for the dead who aren’t here,” Possetti said outside the tribunal.

In April, a Genoa judge approved plea bargain requests by both the highway company, Autostrade per Italia, and the Spea engineering company, to pay 29 million euros ($33 million) to the Italian government in exchange for avoiding a trial.

The lawyer for former Austostrade CEO Giovanni Castellucci, who is among the defendants, said the trial would show that the bridge collapsed not as a result of maintenance negligence but due to an original “construction defect.”

“This is why 43 people died in a terrifying and absurd way,” lawyer Giovanni Paolo Accinni told reporters Thursday outside the Genoa tribunal.

After an hour of procedural motions, Judge Paolo Lepri adjourned the proceedings and set a new hearing for Sept. 12 in a trial that is expected to take more than a year to reach any verdicts, the LaPresse news agency reported.

Outside the tribunal Thursday, members of Italy’s journalists federation protested the decision by the tribunal to bar television cameras from the court, saying it violated Italians’ rights to information.

The governor of Liguria, Giovanni Toti, said the start of the trial was important for the region but also for relatives of the victims.

“Starting today, justice and truth are closer and we hope will arrive quickly,” Toti wrote on Facebook. “It’s the only way to rebuild the trust between citizens and the state that collapsed on that Godforsaken Aug. 14.”

A replacement bridge, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, a Genoa native, features 43 lamps in memory of the people who perished.

After the collapse, the Italian government forged a deal in which the Benetton fashion family agreed to sell its ownership stake in Autostrade.

___

This version corrects the date of the next hearing to Sept. 12.

Winfield reported from Rome.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incid...

Associated Press

American Airlines CEO calls removal of Black passengers from Phoenix flight ‘unacceptable’

American Airlines put an unspecified number of employees on leave for their involvement in an incident in which several Black passengers were removed from a flight in Phoenix.

3 days ago

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

5 days ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

9 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

10 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

13 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Trial opens in deadly collapse of Italy’s Morandi Bridge