A highway bridge collapsed over Genoa, Italy, on Tuesday morning, causing people, cars and huge chunks of concrete to fall hundreds of feet onto the city below.

At least 22 people were found dead in the rubble, government officials told Italy's ANSA news agency. Other accounts put the death told even higher, and Italy's transportation minister said he expected the final toll would be "an immense tragedy."

Standing 300 feet high, according to the Associated Press, the Morandi Bridge spans a three-quarter-mile section of the coastal city, and carries highway traffic between Italy and France. Traffic was likely especially heavy on Tuesday, the agency wrote, as vacationers headed out in advance of a major Italian holiday.

Though the 1960s-era bridge had structural work performed with the last two years, the AP wrote, authorities suspect it was weak - and finally gave out as a torrential rainstorm pounded it shortly before noon.

"O Dio, O Dio, O Dio," an onlooker screamed, as he recorded massive trusses peeling off the bridge, veiled by a thick sheet of rain.

Twenty vehicles either fell or were crushed, officials told Reuters. Trucks fell into the Polvecera River, ANSA reported. Some were rescued from the rubble, but a child was reported among at least 22 dead.

One eyewitness, who gave his name as Andrea Rescigno and said he was in his car at the time of the bridge collapse, said in a phone interview with Genoa TV station Primocanale that he saw "cars and trucks plunging into the void."

"I saw death," Rescigno said. "My wife screamed at me to stop. If not for that, we'd be dead now."

When the collapse was over, video footage showed an approximately 600-foot section of the bridge simply gone. A lone truck sat near the edge of the chasm, on a broken section of bridge that jutted out from a pillar.

Speaking to Reuters, a witness compared the scene to an apocalypse.

By early afternoon, about 200 firefighters were on the scene, and government officials were en route. Two people were pulled alive from the rubble, ANSA reported, and others were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered Italy his country's help after receiving word of the bridge collapse.

The president's office said that Macron, currently staying at a presidential residence in southern France, spoke by phone with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

In French and Italian, Macron wrote on Twitter: "Our thoughts go to the victims, their relatives and all the Italian people. France stands by Italy in that tragedy and is ready to provide all necessary support."

The Washington Post’s Chico Harlan in Rome contributed to this report.