11 killed as highway bridge collapses in Italy

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Rome : A section of a highway bridge in the Italian city of Genoa collapsed during heavy rain on Tuesday, killing at least 11 people and injuring five, officials said.

Emergency services were deployed to the site where a 100-metre (328-feet), two-lane section of the bridge collapsed into a river in the afternoon. Authorities were searching for people trapped in their vehicles under the rubble, the BBC reported.

Italian Interior Ministry sources confirmed the toll to Efe news. The bridge, built in the 1960s, is known as the Morandi bridge. The missing section was dozens of metres in length, and ran across the span of the Polcevera stream.

"I am following with utmost apprehension what has happened in Genoa and which is looking like an immense tragedy," said Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli.

Video footage appeared to show one of the towers holding up the suspension bridge collapsing in stormy weather.

One image posted by the regional emergency services showed a truck perched at the end of the surviving bridge section immediately before the drop and said rescue workers were operating en masse at the scene.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica described that part of the city as "densely inhabited".