Today's picks

    ‘It’s a miracle’: Pregnant girlfriend says her boyfriend survived Genoa bridge collapse by clinging on to wires 65ft above ground for several hours as ‘the thought of their unborn child gave him strength to survive’

    A pregnant woman has told how the father of her unborn child survived the Genoa bridge collapse by clinging to wires 65ft above the ground.
    Giulia Organo said boyfriend Gianluca Ardini, 29, managed to cling on for hours despite suffering a dislocated shoulder because thinking of their baby ‘gave him the strength to survive’. 
    Mr Ardini, who sells computer games, was making a delivery with colleague Luigi Matti Altadonna, 34, which the Morandi bridge gave way beneath them.
    Mr Altadonna, himself a father-of-four, tragically fell 150ft to his death.
    In total 39 people have died, another 12 are in critical condition and several more are still missing following the collapse, which happened at 11.30am on Tuesday. 
    Speaking to Telenord, Miss Organo said: ‘I have no words about what happened as I can only think this is a miracle
    ‘I can’t even begin to imagine what he went through as he was suspended in the air to some wires from 20m from the ground for several hours with all his strength.
    ‘Now I am not really sure of the precise dynamics of the incident just yet but we can only thank God.’ 
    Miss Organo said that Mr Ardini was carrying out his last delivery of the morning in the western suburb of Voltri when he drove across the bridge
    Genoa was weathering through torrential rain at the time of the tragedy. 
    Witnesses reported the bridge, which was known to be unstable and was repaired two years ago, getting struck by lightning before the collapse.
    A 650ft section of the bridge then collapsed into the valley below, smashing into warehouses, a railway, and a largely dry riverbed. 
    Miss Organo said has not spoken to Mr Ardini  since the accident, but was told his story by rescue workers who helped him down.
    She added: ‘I am not sure if he was clinging from the van or from some wires. 
    ‘They have said that the fire brigade were communicating with him from the ground and telling him to keep motionless against the risk of falling down and then they were able to rescue him. 
    ‘He is now in a bit of pain but he’s not life threatening. I am sure there will be some physical consequences but we can consider ourselves lucky.’
    She is now looking forward to welcoming him home, ahead of the birth of their child which is due next month. 
    Questions have been raised over the construction of the bridge and whether ‘Mafia concrete’ that was watered down by criminal gangs when the bridge was built in the 1960s could be to blame.
    ‘Mafia-related companies are known to have infiltrated the cement and reconstruction industries over the decades and prosecutors have accused them of doing shoddy work that cannot withstand high stress,’ Canada’s Globe and Mail wrote.
    Similar allegations were made by Dave Parker, Technical Editor Emeritus of New Civil Engineer, who told Radio 4’s Today that ‘according to urban myths, the mafia had a very big finger in the pie of the concrete industry back then, charging full price and putting less cement in
    Yesterday, experts said the Morandi bridge was almost certainly brought down by a fatal flaw in its construction, or wear and tear which inspectors overseeing maintenance had missed.
    The Italian government has threatened to fine highways agency Autostrade 150million euros (£133million) for failing to properly maintain the bridge.
    Ministers have also demanded bosses of the company resign and threatened to strip away government funding.