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Cargo ship crashes into control tower in Genoa

  • Wed, 8 May 2013

Three killed when tower toppled into the Italian harbour

Genoa cargo boat crash

At least three people have been killed after a cargo ship toppled a control tower into the waters of the Italian port of Genoa.

It's believed the three victims were trapped inside a lift that fell into the water when the tower collapsed. Four others were taken to hospital in critical condition and up to half a dozen people remain unaccounted for. It's feared the missing workers are trapped inside a submerged lift, officials have said.

The Jolly Nero was reportedly leaving the port under tow in calm conditions when the cargo boat hit the concrete and glass tower. The captain told a local newspaper the engines failed and "we lost control of the ship".

Italian journalist Marco Fantasia said the cargo boat was driven by staff from Genoa, who were onboard to manoeuvre the ship. "They are very experienced, so a human error is unlikely," he added.

The crash happened during a shift change in the control tower, which meant as many as 14 people could have been inside.

"It's a terrible tragedy," said Port Authority president Luigi Merlo. "We're in turmoil, speechless."

The cargo ship has been impounded and the captain is being questioned as Genoa's prosecutor begins to investigate the accident.

Stefano Messina, the ship's owner, told journalists: "We are all utterly shocked. Nothing like this has ever happened before, we are desperate."

The control tower fell immediately into the sea when it was hit by the 240m Jolly Nero, which weighs nearly 40,600 tonnes. "All that remains of the collapsed tower is an outside security stair structure, which is tilted at 45 degrees," explained Fantasia.

See the aftermath in ITV's video footage of the Genoa port:

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