Cargo ship the Jolly Nero crashed into the control tower at the port of Genoa on Tuesday, leaving at least seven people dead and several others injured or missing, Italian newspapers reported.
Owned by Ignazio Messina & Co, the Jolly Nero measures almost 240 metres long, weighs more than 40,500 tonnes.
The ship was leaving Genoa port with the help of two tugboats at around 11:30 pm, bound for Naples at the time of the incident.
According to Italian media reports, a shift change was taking place in the control tower and at least 14 people were inside, three of them in the elevator, when the incident happened.
Reports suggest the crew lost control after two engines stopped working. Other possible causes such as excessive speed or human error are also being considered.
The left-hand side of the ship's stern crashed into the tower causing the structure to bend 45 degrees.
Part of the tower fell into the sea while the other part fell in the opposite direction. Both the tower and adjoining structure collapsed.
Seven ambulances, a helicopter, a crane, a rescue team, firefighters and the coast guard arrived at the scene, Il Secolo XIX reported.
Rescue workers and firefighters found seven bodies.
Four people were found under the rubble and promptly transported to two different hospitals, according to Il Secolo XIX.
The captain and the pilot of the Jolly Nero are now being investigated on charges of multiple manslaughter.
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