Rome, Aug 18 (IANS) Friends and relatives of 19 of the victims of a deadly bridge collapse in the Italian city of Genoa bade farewell to their loved ones at a state funeral on Saturday, while the families of 19 others opted for private ceremonies.
Overnight, firefighting teams found the bodies of three other people inside a vehicle, a couple and their nine-year-old daughter, while another body was found later Saturday, bringing the death toll to at least 42.
Some families reportedly stayed away from the ceremony because of anger at the government. The collapse of a section of the Morandi motorway bridge and the deaths of those crossing in vehicles has led to a fierce debate in Italy about the nation’s infrastructure, the BBC reported.
“The bridge collapsed. It was not only an important part of the highway, but a necessary route for the daily lives of so many, an essential artery for the development of the city. But Genoa is not giving up,” said Archbishop of Genoa Angelo Bagnasco.
He also spoke about the need for justice, though pointed out this would not restore what had been lost.
Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attended the state funeral attended by 5,000 people, along with other government representatives, a report in the Guardian daily said.
Mattarella said it was necessary to find out who was responsible of an “unacceptable tragedy.”
The government has set up a commission to examine the causes of the disaster and one member speculated that a broken cable rod was “a serious work hypothesis”, according to reports.
The coffins of the 19 victims were topped with white roses and some with the flags representing their home countries. Besides Italians, four French people, two Albanians, three Chileans, a Peruvian and a Colombian were among those who lost their lives on Tuesday.
Firefighters belonging to the team involved in the non-stop excavations to locate the victims were greeted to a loud applause at the ceremony.
Works were ongoing to locate a person who remained missing. Other families had chosen to hold private funerals.
Shops and businesses across the city were closed as Italy marked a national day of mourning. Football players from the Genoa and Sampdoria teams also attended the ceremony.