The Latest: Italy bridge survivor describes 'unreal silence'

The Latest on this week's bridge collapse in Italy's Genoa (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

Davide Capello was driving across the bridge toward the Italian city of Genoa when suddenly, the road dropped out from under him. A trained firefighter, he understood immediately that the structure had collapsed.

Capello was at the midpoint of the bridge, he recounted Friday, when "everything, the world, came down." The 33-year-old said: "I heard a noise, a dull noise. I saw the columns of the highway in front of me come down. A car in front of me disappeared into the darkness."

His car plunged nose first, then suddenly stopped with a crash, air bags releasing around him. He said he saw only gray. Outside, he said, "there was an unreal silence."

Capello was released from the hospital Thursday, two days after the collapse. He said had no major physical injuries.

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9:50 p.m.

Excavators have begun clearing large sections of the collapsed highway bridge in the Italian city of Genoa in the search for people still missing three days after the deadly accident.

The search entered a new phase Friday as heavy equipment removed a large vertical section, clearing a new area to probe. Rescuers have been tunneling through tons of jagged steel, concrete and crushed vehicles that plunged as many as 45 meters (150 feet) when the bridge suddenly fell during a downpour on Tuesday.

Officials say 38 people are confirmed killed and 15 injured. Prosecutors say 10 to 20 people might be unaccounted-for and the death toll is expected to rise.

The first funerals were being held later Friday, ahead of a state funeral in Genoa on Saturday to be celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.