Rescuers say the scene—and the task before them—is similar to the aftermath of an earthquake, but the cause of the disaster in Genoa was very different. The confirmed death toll from Tuesday's bridge collapse now stands at 35, including at least three children, and rescuers worked long into the night looking for survivors who could be heard calling from the rubble of a collapsed 250-foot section of the Morandi Bridge on the A10 highway, the BBC reports. Several people were pulled alive from vehicles trapped in a jumble of concrete debris and steel girders. Authorities believe more than 30 cars and three heavy vehicles were on the bridge when it collapsed amid a sudden storm and torrential rain.
One survivor says he managed to slam on his brakes and stop just a few feet short of the 150-foot drop. "I'm alive by a miracle. Luckily I was not shunted from behind, otherwise I would have gone down with the others," he tells the Telegraph. "There was total panic. People got out of the cars and ran." The cause of the 51-year-old bridge's collapse is still unclear, though work to strengthen its foundation was happening at the time. Danilo Toninelli, Italy's transport minister, called Wednesday for managers of the private company operating the bridge to resign, the Guardian reports. He said the government plans to cancel the contract of Autostrade per l'Italia to operate the highway from Genoa to the French border. (Read more Genoa stories.)