Trial begins after four years: who is responsible for the Genoa bridge collapse?

On August 14, 2018, a viaduct of the A10 motorway collapses in Genoa.

Trial begins after four years: who is responsible for the Genoa bridge collapse?

On August 14, 2018, a viaduct of the A10 motorway collapses in Genoa. 43 people die in the rubble of the "Ponte Morandi", hundreds of people who lived below become homeless. 59 defendants are now before the court.

The images of the collapse of a motorway bridge in Genoa almost four years ago shocked the world. 43 people died when the roadway collapsed during heavy rains and cars and trucks fell. Now the trial against those allegedly responsible begins, in court 59 defendants have to answer.

"The grief is still immense today," says Egle Possetti. The 57-year-old lost her sister Claudia, her brother-in-law Andrea, her nephew Manuele and her niece Camilla in the disaster on August 14, 2018. "My sister was so happy, she had married Andrea a few days before the accident, they had just returned from their honeymoon in the United States," says the chair of a committee for the bereaved.

"The shrill screams of the people, the corpses and the completely flattened cars will stay with me forever," Federico Romeo, the mayor of the northern part of Genoa, recalled on the day of the disaster. This revealed the desolate state of the transport infrastructure in Italy in unexpected brutality.

The company Autostrade per l'Italia (ASPI), which operates almost half of Italy's motorway network, has been accused of failing to maintain the Morandi Bridge. At that time, ASPI belonged to the Atlantia group of the Benetton family. The family has since sold its stake to the state for eight billion euros. The former boss of Atlantia, Giovanni Castelluci, is one of the 59 accused in the process.

The survivor Possetti does not expect a quick conviction. "Trials in Italy are lengthy and unfortunately often don't end well for the victims," ​​she says. "We felt let down from day one, we haven't heard from anyone for months."

Children are now playing football near bridge pier number nine, which collapsed in the accident. A park to commemorate the victims will soon be created here. The new bridge was inaugurated in August 2020. The river it crosses is currently dry.

In the Certosa district near the bridge, many houses have "For Sale" signs on them. For over a year, the neighborhood was cut off from the rest of the city because roads were closed for the bridge's reconstruction. "Almost all of the long-established shops have closed," says Massimiliano Braibanti, head of a local neighborhood initiative. Real estate prices have also fallen. A 100 square meter apartment can be had for less than 20,000 euros, says Braibanti.

The upcoming trial is important to all Italians, survivors like Giorgio Robbiano especially: "I have a need for justice and I want to know who is responsible for the death of my brother, my nephew, my sister-in-law and so many others," says the 45-year-old . "I want them to be held accountable for their actions." Robbiano's younger brother was on his way to his father's house to celebrate his birthday with his wife Ersilia and eight-year-old son Samuele when they fell.

"They died because of a bridge that was never maintained to make more profit," says Robbiano. His father died last year. "He never got over the pain," says Robbiano. "And sadly, he will never have the opportunity to look the person in the eye who killed his son and grandson."

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