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Italy deaths as Genoa ship hits control tower

The toppled control tower in the port of Genoa, northern Italy,  after a cargo ship slammed into it killing at least three people (May 8 2013) Part of the structure of the control tower was seen at a tilt following the accident




At least three people have died and up to six are missing after a ship crashed into a control tower in the Italian port of Genoa, reports say.


Part of the tower is said to have crashed into the water when it was hit by the Jolly Nero container ship.


About 10 people were in the tower at the time of the accident.


Four people have been taken to hospital, but others are feared to be in the water or trapped inside the tower.


The crash triggered a frantic night-time search operation in the waters around the tower.


The cause of the crash – whether human error or mechanical fault – has not yet been confirmed.


The ship’s owner, Stefano Messina, who arrived at the port soon after the crash, had tears in his eyes as he told journalists: “We are all utterly shocked. Nothing like this has ever happened before, we are desperate.”


One of the victims was thought to be a woman in her 30s, while the other two were male.


“It’s a terrible tragedy. We’re in turmoil, speechless,” Port Authority President Luigi Merlo told local TV.


Emergency services said it was not clear whether some of those still missing were trapped within the lift inside the tower, reports from the scene said.


An undated and unlocated image of the Jolly Nero container ship, reportedly involved in the crash in Genoa port, taken from taken from the website of the shipping line Ignazio Messina & Co A file image of the Jolly Nero, reportedly involved in the crash


The accident is said to have occurred at about 23:00 on Tuesday night (21:00 GMT), when a shift change was taking place in the control tower – meaning more people were inside.


The ship was manoeuvring out of the port with the help of tugboats in calm conditions, reports said.


The huge tower was bent by the impact of the collision and part of it reportedly fell into the sea.


Genoa’s prosecutor is investigating the incident, Corriere Della Sera newspaper says. The ship has been impounded and the captain is being questioned.


The Jolly Nero is almost 240 metres (787 feet) long and weighs over 40,500 tonnes. It is owned by the Italian firm Ignazio Messina & Co.


It was bound for Messina, Sicily, at the time of the crash, reports say.


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