Genoa disaster: 5 other bridge fails from around the world

Infrastructure problems have repeatedly caused bridges – both new and old – to collapse

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 9:55pm

Scenes from a highway bridge collapsing in Genoa, Italy, on Tuesday are shocking and terrifying: rain was pouring down as part of the bridge gave way, sending cars flying 100-metres below and killing dozens of people.

Infrastructure problems have repeatedly caused bridges – both new and old – to collapse around the world. Here some past bridge failures.

Miami

In March 2018, six people died in Miami after a pedestrian bridge collapsed on top of a number of vehicles on the street below. Cars were stopped at a red light when the more than 950-tonne bridge fell on top of them. The bridge was supposed to make crossing a busy road safer for students at Florida International University.

India

In August 2016, as at least two buses crossed over the colonial-era bridge connecting the Indian towns of Mahad and Poladpur, the structure gave out and collapsed into the Savitri river. The Indian Express reported at the time that search efforts were made more difficult because there was persistent heavy rain. Around 30 people were reportedly feared dead or missing. The Hindustan Times reported that in 2000, another bridge was built parallel to the one that eventually collapsed. But traffic flowed on both of them, with one bridge designated for those bound to Mumbai and the other for those heading to Goa. After the collapse, the government quickly began construction on a new, three-lane bridge.

Colombia

In January 2018, a large bridge that was intended to help ease travel between the city of Villavicencio and the capital of Bogota collapsed while it was under construction. At least 10 workers died, and The New York Times reported that they fell about 275 metres – the bridge was about 450 metres long, and sat over a gorge.

Kenya

The Chinese-built Sigiri Bridge in Kenya cost millions of dollars and was celebrated by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who tweeted that it “will significantly reduce deaths and make it easier for the residents to access markets, schools and hospitals.” Two weeks later it collapsed.

Quartz Africa reported that at least 27 workers were injured when part of it crashed down last year. It was not yet completed at the time, but the bridge was intended to improve safety for those trying to cross the river below, where a boat had previously capsized and killed its passengers.

Kansas City

In 1981, 114 people died when a walkway at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, collapsed onto a crowded group of people dancing in a contest below. The Washington Post reported on the deadly incident at the time, saying that around 100 people were watching from a second-floor walkway in the lobby, which was just below a fourth-floor walkway, when the top one “suddenly buckled into the centre, crashing down onto the second floor walkway and smashing it onto the dance floor.” On top of the initial collapse, “the falling debris severed a number of water pipes which began to gush water onto the chaotic scene on the lobby floor,” the Post wrote.