Italy | « It was like a bomb », says a miracle of the Genoa viaduct

(Savona) « It was as if a bomb had fallen on the bridge, an apocalyptic scene »: Davide Capello, 37, is one of the few survivors of the collapse of the Genoa viaduct in August 2018, which claimed the life to 43 people.

Posted at 12:51 a.m.

France Media Agency

Almost four years after the collapse of the Genoa bridge, the pain of the families of the 43 victims continues. They anxiously await the start of the trial on Thursday in this port city in northern Italy, with 59 defendants in the dock.

On August 14, 2018, in torrential rain, the Morandi motorway bridge, an essential axis for local and international journeys, collapsed, dragging down dozens of vehicles and their passengers.

After a vertiginous fall of about forty meters in his white Volkswagen Tiguan, whose shock was cushioned by tons of debris, Davide Capello came out of the tragedy almost unscathed, apart from back and shoulder pain « which come back from time to time”.


Davide Capello, 37, survivor of the Genoa viaduct collapse.

But he had to give up his passion, football. “I miss playing football. But I am lucky to be a coach, which compensates a little, « he told AFP at the Ruffinengo stadium in Savona (north-west), 50 km from Genoa, where he went. to spot young talent.

On the morning of August 14, 2018, the day of the disaster, Davide, who has worked for several years as a firefighter in Savona, was on his way to Genoa to renew his membership card at the Genoa football club where he trains young goalkeepers beginning.

“I crossed the tunnel before the Morandi bridge. Then, halfway across the bridge, I heard a thud behind me and saw the road crumble, all the cars in front of me plunging into the void,” he recalls.

« An Eternity »

“At a certain moment I felt myself being thrown into the air and I fell with the whole bridge, with the nose of my car pointing downwards, at the time I really thought I was going to die”.

And then what he calls a “miracle” happened, because “there is no other explanation”. « A cloud of dust surrounded me when I landed inside a part of the bridge which covered me without flattening me », as in an air bubble, « and accompanied me until down « .

When the car landed on the rubble piled up in the courtyard of a factory located under the bridge, « all the windows exploded », but « the cabin remained intact ».

The fall “only lasted a few seconds, but it seemed like an eternity to me”, confides Davide, who had to resort to a psychologist to overcome his trauma.

The young man remained stuck in the car for about twenty minutes, searching in vain for his mobile phone. But thanks to the Bluetooth screen of his SUV, he managed to warn his fellow firefighters, his parents and his girlfriend.

« Unreal Silence »

“These were moments of panic, of terror. Then, when I heard the first voices of the rescuers, I mustered up my courage and managed to get out through the rear window and climb over the rubble”.

Around him, “there reigned an almost unreal silence”. “It was like a parallel reality, I was walking without understanding. I only understood what happened when I saw the collapsed bridge from further away. »

Hospitalized for a few days and in shock for a long time, he gradually resumed his work as a firefighter and started driving again. But it took him more than a year to take the new bridge, inaugurated in August 2020.

Will he attend the trial on the drama of the Morandi bridge which opens Thursday in Genoa? “No, definitely not. I prefer to move forward in life”.

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