A family on their summer holiday with their car packed full of beach toys have been identified among those who lost their lives in the Genoa bridge tragedy.
Roberto Robbiano, 45, wife Ersilia Piccinino, 41, and their seven-year-old son Samuele were in their car when a 260ft stretch of the Morandi Bridge collapsed beneath them.
The trio were travelling to Sardinia when the structure crumbled, killing 39 people and injuring 15. A friend of the family told Italy’s La Repubblica he recognised the family’s car and the Spider Man ball Samuele like to play with among the debris.
Members of a second family were named as Andrea Vittone, 49, Claudia Possetti, 48, and two children from Posetti’s previous marriage, Manuele and Camilla Bellasio, aged 16 and 12.
Stella Boccia, 24, from Tuscany and her boyfriend Carlos Jesus Truillo, 23, from the Dominican Republic were also named among the dead.
Of Boccia’s death, Donato Santoro wrote on Facebook: “I am speechless... this time fate had the upper hand. From the dream holiday with her love to the end of everything.”
Andrea Cerulli, 47, a keen amateur footballer, was killed on his way to work.
Posting a picture of the player with his son balanced on his shoulders, the club said it was “rallying round the family of Andrea, our associate, our friend, our colleague”, adding: “Goodbye, Andre.”
Alberto Fanfani, 32, an anaesthetist from Florence, was travelling with his fiancée, Marta Danisi, 29, a nurse from Sicily, when the bridge gave way.
Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, confirmed Fanfani’s death via Twitter.
Bruno Mancuso, the mayor of Sant’Agata di Militello, her Sicilian hometown, confirmed their death on Facebook, citing relatives.
“I am shocked and saddened by the tragedy that has struck somebody from our town,” he said.
“On behalf of all the community, we express our deepest condolences and solidarity with her family over this immense pain and emptiness that has hit them.”
The disaster occurred on a highway that connects Italy to France and other holiday resorts on the eve of a major Italian holiday on Wednesday – Ferragosto – and traffic would have been heavier than usual as many Italians travelled to beach or mountain resorts.
A 12-month state of emergency has been declared following the incident by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, at the request of the authorities in the Liguria region around the city.
Speaking at a news conference in Genoa, Conte took aim at toll-road operator Autostrade, a unit of Milan-listed Atlantia group, which operated the bridge as part of a stretch of the A10 motorway it manages.
He said the firm had been responsible for ensuring safety on the bridge and the government would not await the outcome of a current criminal investigation into the disaster before taking action.
Earlier, the transport minister said the firm’s A10 motorway concession should be revoked and it be hit with heavy fines.
Rescuers and sniffer dogs are continuing to search through tonnes of concrete slabs and steel for survivors or bodies.
Two Albanian men were killed in the collapse, named by authorities as Marjus Djerri and Edi Bokrina.
Three French nationals were also said to have died, with local media reporting that the two young women and a man from Toulouse had travelled to Italy for a music festival.
Investigators are working to determine what caused the long stretch of highway to break off from the 150ft high bridge in the north-western port city.
The 1967 bridge, considered innovative in its time for its use of concrete around its cables, had long been due for an upgrade, especially since the structure saw more heavy traffic than its designers had envisioned.
One expert in such construction, Antonio Brencich at the University of Genoa, had previously called the highway “a failure of engineering”.
An unidentified woman who was standing below the bridge told RAI state TV that the structure crumbled as if it were a mound of baking flour.
Engineering experts, noting that the structure was 51 years old, said corrosion and weather could have been factors in its collapse.