‘I stared death in the face’: Truck driver describes his miraculous escape from Genoa bridge collapse

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

A truck driver who narrowly avoided death in the Genoa bridge collapse has spoken about how he was just inches away from death.

The 37-year-old dad-of-two, known only as Luigi, managed to slam his brakes just as the Morandi bridge gave way in front of him, before exiting his vehicle and running for his life.

Luigi’s green truck was pictured sitting at the edge of the gaping hole where the bridge once stood, its engine and windscreen wipers still running.

A truck driver has spoke of his lucky escape from the Genoa bridge collapse (AP)
The driver, known only as Luigi, said he slammed the truck into reverse and ran away (AP)

Describing how he escaped, Luigi said: ‘I saved myself because a car overtook me and I slowed down. I saw her fall with the others (and) I braked suddenly.

‘I put the reverse gear on then I opened the door and I ran away. The truck stayed there with the engine running.’

Luigi, who lives in Genoa, is believed to have locked himself and his family away as he comes to terms with how he ‘stared death in the face’.

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There are now fears that his truck will overheat as the engine remains running, according to Annalisa Damonte, of haulage company Damonte Trasporti.

At least 39 people were killed in the bridge collapse in the northern port town in Italy.

More than 30 cars and three trucks plunged to the ground as far as 150ft below, during a violent storm on Tuesday.

Luigi said he ‘stared death in the face’ (AP)
The truck stayed on the edge of the bridge with the engine and windscreen wipers still running (AP)

British family ‘ran for their lives’

A British family have told how they ran for their lives when they were caught up in the unfolding tragedy.

Nicola and Lisa Henton-Mitchell were on holiday with their children, aged 12 and nine, in Italy when they were forced to abandon their car and take shelter in a tunnel.

She told the BBC: ‘The rain was torrential and as we drove along we felt the car slide to the right.

‘We kept going, then all of a sudden we saw lots of red lights, all the cars in front braking. We could only see a couple of cars ahead of us.

The green truck could be seen sitting precariously at the edge of where the bridge collapsed (AP)
At least 39 people have been killed after the bridge collapsed in the Italian port town (AP)

‘Then all of a sudden all of the reverse lights came on.’

Nicola said people started shouting and waving their arms out of car windows to tell people to reverse.

Lisa, from Bicester, Oxfordshire, said: ‘We tried to reverse and we couldn’t go anywhere and the car in front hit the front of our car and people were running, screaming in Italian, ‘Run, out, everyone out, cars’.

‘So we just literally (said), ‘Kids run, run’ because we didn’t know what was happening.’

Rescue workers are attempting to reach survivors stuck underneath tonnes of concrete and rubble (AP)

She added: ‘We left everything in the car and we just ran for our lives because we didn’t know.’

Italian prosecutors are focusing their investigation on possible design flaws or inadequate maintenance, with fears rising that a part of the motorway bridge which is still standing could also come crashing down.

Authorities have widened their evacuation to include some 630 people living nearby, while around 1,000 rescue workers continued their search through tonnes of rubble for any more bodies.