A firefighters' helicopter flies over the collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko) (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Italy bridge collapse

“Our condolences to the victims’ families in the Genoa disaster. We wish a quick recovery to all injured,” Israel stated.

By: United with Israel Staff and AP

Israel on Tuesday conveyed its official condolences to Italy after a highway bridge in the port city of Genoa collapsed, killing at least 39 people.

“Our condolences to victims’ families in the Genoa disaster. We wish a quick recovery to all injured,” Israel posted on its official Twitter page.

The city of Tel Aviv paid homage to the victims and lit up the Town Hall with the colors of the Italian flag.

A huge section of the Morandi Bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France collapsed Tuesday in Genoa during a sudden, violent storm, sending vehicles plunging 45 meters (nearly 150 feet) into a heap of rubble below.

Hundreds of rescue workers with sniffer dogs are searching through the tons of rubble and twisted metal looking for more victims.

The bridge is on a key highway that connects Genoa to the eastern Liguria coastline and to France.

An Italian official described the disaster as “the biggest tragedy involving a bridge of this importance in Europe in the last decades.”

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte traveled to the site of the disaster late Tuesday in the port city, calling it an “immense tragedy.” He told RAI state TV, “It is shocking to see the twisted metal and the bridge collapsed with victims who were extracted.”

Italy’s CNR civil engineering society is calling for a “Marshall Plan” to repair or replace tens of thousands of bridges in Italy that have surpassed their lifespans, having been built in the 1950s and 1960s with reinforced concrete.

CNR said in a note Tuesday that the bridges were built with the best-known technology of the time but that their working lifespan is 50 years. It added that in many cases, the cost to update and reinforce the bridges is more than it would cost to destroy and rebuild them.

CNR called for a major program to replace most of the bridges with new ones that would have a lifespan of 100 years.