0434 GMT February 19, 2019
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi offered condolences to the Italian people and government over the collapse of a giant motorway bridge in Genoa, which led to the deaths and injuries of dozens of people.
In a statement released late on Tuesday, Qassemi expressed deep regret over the tragic incident and sympathized with the bereaved families of the victims, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Rescuers scoured crushed mountains of rubble for victims of the bridge collapse as the toll rose to 39 Wednesday and Italy’s government blamed the company in charge of motorways for the disaster.
A vast span of the Morandi Bridge caved in during a heavy rainstorm in the northern port city on Tuesday, sending about 35 cars and several trucks plunging 45 meters (150 feet) onto the railway tracks below.
At least 39 people are known to have died and 15 injured, according to Italy’s Civil Protection service.
Children aged eight, 12 and 13 were among the dead, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday, adding that more people were still missing.
Three Chileans, who live in Italy, and three French nationals were also killed, according to their respective diplomatic services.
Hundreds of rescuers continued their search on Wednesday after scouring the huge piles of concrete and twisted metal overnight by floodlight, hoping to find survivors.
The tragedy has focused anger on the structural problems that have dogged the decades old bridge and the private sector firm Autostrade per l’Italia, which is currently in charge of operating and maintaining the country’s motorways.
Italy’s government said it intended to revoke the company’s contract and hit it with a fine of 150 million euros (US$170 million).
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, who arrived in Genoa on Wednesday morning, earlier said the tragedy “could have been avoided.”
AFP contributed to this story.