Derbyshire man tells of brush with death in Genoa bridge disaster

The motorway bridge in Genoa, Italy, collapsed last Tuesday, killing more than 40 people. Credit: Shuttershock
The motorway bridge in Genoa, Italy, collapsed last Tuesday, killing more than 40 people. Credit: Shuttershock

A Derbyshire man has told of his horror at being moments from death in the Genoa bridge disaster.

Nicholas Delaney was travelling along the motorway bridge in Italy with his family just minutes before the structure collapsed, killing more than 40 people.

The Tideswell man, who had been headed to France on a tour bus with his ex-partner and two children at the time, was “completely shook up” when they were later told a 200m stretch of the bridge they crossed had plummeted 43 metres behind them.

So far, rescue workers have pulled 43 bodies from the wreackage.

“Nobody would have survived on that bus had it been on the bridge at time time- we’d all have been dead, no question about it,” said Nicholas, 61.

“We were scheduled to pass along the bridge around the time of the accident.

“That morning, there had been a nasty thunderstorm. The driver could barely see where he was going.

“As we arrived in France our tour guide told us what had happened and we were just so shocked.

“I had to drink a load of whiskey, something I’d never do, to get to sleep that night.”

Strangely, Nicholas said he had a ‘bad feeling’ about the trip before it had even begun.

He said: “I’d had a weird premonition from the start. Perhaps it’s a sign you should trust your gut feeling. 
“I don’t claim to be psychic or anything like that, but I definitely did not want to go on this holiday.

“I knew something bad was about to happen. There was every chance we could have been on that bridge.”

A construction worker, Nicholas has slammed transport officials for not monitoring the structure and says the disaster was an “accident waiting to happen”.

“In France, I bought newspapers that had covered the disasters and looked at the pictures,” he added.

“I found out the bridge was built in 1967 when there would obviously have been a lot less traffic than there is today.

“The bridge needed more support. I suspect it could even have been weakened by small earthquakes over time.

“A structure taking that amount of weight should be made of steel, not concrete. It wasn’t strong enough and people paid with their lives.”