By COLlive reporter
A Chabad family traveled on the bridge on a main highway linking Italy with France hours before it collapsed on Tuesday in the Italian city of Genoa during a violent storm.
One of the huge supporting towers crashed down during torrential rain, leading vehicles and debris to fall nearly 150 feet onto rail tracks, buildings and a river, BBC reported.
Authorities said at least 20 people were killed, although the death toll fluctuated throughout the day and some people were found alive in the debris, AP reported.
A representative of the motorway’s operator, Autostrade, told Reuters news agency there had been “no reason to consider the bridge was dangerous.”
Rescuers are still trying to free people caught in crushed vehicles or rubble. Fears that other parts of the bridge might fall have prompted the evacuation of buildings in the area, a rescuer told Italy’s Ansa news agency.
Rabbi Shlomo Bekhor, a Chabad Shliach in Milan and the co-director of Mamash Edizioni Ebraiche – Lubavitch Publishing House in Italy, says he and his family traveled on the bridge a short while before the collapse.
The rabbi, his wife Gittie Bekhor and children were vacationing not far from the port city of Genoa over the last few days and used the bridge on their way there and back.
“Four days ago we drove on the bridge which unfortunately fell and caused a great tragedy,” Rabbi Bekhor said in a video. “On Friday, when we crossed the bridge, we saw a lot of construction work there. We never dreamed that it will be such a danger.
“Last night, we returned on the bridge,” he said about his drive on Monday night. “A few hours ago, there was a lot of rain and thunder. They said that possibly because of the many cars on the bridge combined with the storm is what caused the collapse.”
He said the tragedy has shocked the country. “We don’t remember such a collapse in Italian history because we are very careful here with such things,” the rabbi said. “I hope Hashem will heal the injured and that no such future tragedies will ever happen.”
— Antonello Guerrera (@antoguerrera) August 14, 2018
VIDEO: Rabbi Shlomo Bekhor speaks