GENOA- A ship crashed into the control tower at Genoa’s port late Tuesday night, killing at least seven people. The ship had been turning to leave the harbor when it hit the tower, knocking most of it into the water, reports Corriere della Sera.
The number of victims has been rising Wednesday morning as rescue efforts continue.
The incident took place around 11 p.m. local time, when a shift change was taking place -- meaning there were more people in the tower than usual. The seven victims include a ship captain and two port authority guards, as confirmed by the spokesperson for the Port Authority on Wednesday morning, says La Stampa.
The Jolly Nero ship bumped the pier during a maneuver to leave the port, with the aid of tugboats, before hitting the tower and destroying it completely. The ship, which is owned by shipping company Ignazio Messina & Co., weighed in at 40,594 tons and measured 239 x 30 meters.
Divers combed the harbor all night, while dozens of rescue workers tried to remove the debris of the tower. At least four injuries were reported, including people pulled out of the water. Rai News24 reports at least three missing.
"It's a terrible tragedy. We're in turmoil, speechless," Port Authority President Luigi Merlo told local TV.
A theory given by experts is that the ship’s two motors had been blocked, making it uncontrollable, according to La Repubblica. The stern, therefore, became overwhelmed and hit the pier and tower. Conditions were calm, according to La Stampa, so the only possibilities can be a wrong maneuver or a failure.
The Mayor of Genoa, Marco Doria, has declared Wednesday a day of mourning for the city.
The tower, before and after:
La torre di controllo del porto di #Genova prima e dopo la collisione col #JollyNero. twitter.com/fanpage/status…
— fanpage (@fanpage) May 8, 2013
What remains of the tower on the pier this morning:
Incidente nel porto di Genova. Quel che rimane della Torre dei piloti stamattina sul molo. #Genova#JollyNerotwitter.com/Rainews24/stat…
— RaiNews24 (@Rainews24) May 8, 2013
The remains of the tower
Inferno a #Genova, La Jolly Nero urta torre piloti. Tre vittime, quattro feriti e sei dispersi bit.ly/18WvdFYtwitter.com/ilgiornale/sta…
— ilGiornale (@ilgiornale) May 8, 2013
The Jolly Nero ship
PDATE 08.05-00:30#Genova +++ NAVE#JollyNero CONTRO MOLO GIANO CROLLATA TORRE+++2 morti 5 dispersi #emergenza24twitter.com/Emergenza24/st…
— Emergenza24 (@Emergenza24) May 7, 2013