Death toll expected to rise after bridge collapse in northern Italy

GENOA, Italy - It may look like special effects for some Hollywood blockbuster but sadly, this is real life and death.  Video above shows the moment a major section of a highway bridge in northern Italy collapsed, killing 22 people immediately.

The casualties are expected to grow as crews dig through the rubble. Several cars were crushed with bodies inside.  In somewhat of a miracle, rescuers managed to pull two people out alive.

Now the question is, what caused the killer collapse?  Was it structural failure, Mother nature, or a combo?

According to police, violent storms may be partially responsible for the downfall of the Morandi Bridge. There had been about 15 to 20 minutes of torrential rain and 35 mph winds gusts right before it fell.

The mayor of Genoa says it was, "Not completely unexpected."

The 50-year-old concrete bridge was in the midst of being repaired and around 30 vehicles and heavy-duty trucks were on the affected section when it gave way.

This bridge is a major thoroughfare along the Mediterranean.  It links the Italian coast with French coastal cities to the west.

In addition to the potentially rising death toll, nearby residents have been displaced. More than 400 people who live in the vicinity were forced to evacuate their homes after buildings near the bridge were deemed unsafe.

More than 200 emergency crew members are on-sight, including mountain rescue teams, police boats, and canine search and rescue units.  Authorities say the scene looks like an earthquake, which makes perfect sense. This disaster has left the entire region completely shaken.

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