A motorway bridge has collapsed in the northwest Italian city of Genoa and fire brigade sources said 35 people were believed killed as vehicles plummeted to the ground, British Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Dramatic video footage captured the moment of the disaster when one of the huge supporting towers crashed down during torrential rain.
Vehicles and debris fell 45m (148ft) on to rail tracks, buildings and a river.
The official death toll was given as 22 on Tuesday evening by the Governor of Liguria region, Giovanni Toti, but he warned the number would “certainly rise significantly.”
Fire brigade sources told Ansa that 35 people were dead and 12 missing.
Searches for people trapped in the rubble are expected to go into the night.
Fears that other parts of the bridge might fall had prompted the evacuation of buildings in the area, a rescuer told Italy’s Ansa news agency.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini promised that anyone found to be responsible for the bridge collapse would be held to account.
“I have crossed that bridge hundreds of times,” he said. “Now, as an Italian citizen, I will do everything to get the names and surnames of the managers responsible, past and present, because it is unacceptable to die like that in Italy.”
A representative of the motorway’s operator, Autostrade, told Reuters there had been “no reason to consider the bridge was dangerous”.
“We saw lightning strike the bridge,” eyewitness Pietro M all’Asa, was quoted as saying by Ansa.