Rescuers deal with fire in Italian bridge rubble before day of mourning

Crumbling pylons

A huge section of the Morandi bridge simply crumbled to pieces, falling some 45 metres to the ground and killing at least 38 people.

The government has said alternative housing will be found, although it may take months to house everyone again.

Shares in the parent company of Autostrade per l'Italia which runs the highway plunged more than 30% in the days after the collapse but were recovering slightly on Friday as investors said government threats to revoke its concessions might be political rhetoric rather than a likely outcome.

Atlantia is controlled by the holding company for the Benetton family, famous for its clothing empire.

Infrastructure across Italy will be double-checked in the aftermath of the disaster, the government has promised.

The rest of the 2018-19 Serie A opening day remains on schedule - including Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus against Chievo on Saturday (11:50 a.m. ET, streaming live on ESPN+) in what will be his competitive debut for his new club since his blockbuster summer move from Real Madrid.

Last year, an engineering study warned about the concrete-encased cable stays that held up the bridge, Italian newspapers La Stampa and Repubblica reported.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has said the collapse is an "absurd" catastrophe that has stricken the entire nation. "There are witnesses and videos that point in that direction".

But it said the bridge was monitored on a quarterly basis as required by law, and it had hired external experts to carry out additional checks.

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Since then, rescuers have been scouring through the rubble and crawling between the blocks of concrete, looking for survivors.

Despite fading hopes of finding survivors, rescue workers said they had not given up as they resumed the unsafe operation to search through the unstable mountains of debris.

Autostrade, which operates and maintains almost half of Italy's motorways, estimates it will take five months to rebuild the bridge. He then called his girlfriend and his father, a retired firefighter, who told him to get out of the vehicle immediately for fear the auto would destabilize or something heavy would fall on top of it.

"We are trying to find pockets in the rubble where people could be - alive or not", fire official Emanuele Gissi told AFP.

"We are working in synchronisation with earth moving equipment and sniffer dogs", Mr Zanut said.

A state funeral for numerous victims will be held on Saturday at Genoa's Exhibition and Trade Centre, led by the city's archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, and attended by resident Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

But some families plan to boycott the event and hold their own private services, as a sign of protest against what they say was the negligence that caused the bridge to collapse.

The funeral of four young men who were en route to a holiday together in France and Spain when the disaster struck was being held in Torre del Greco, near Naples, on Friday.

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