The son of the couple killed in the motorway bridge collapse in Italy has spoken about the tragic loss of his parents.

The couple, 60-year-old Emidio Diomede and 54-year-old Antonella Viviani died in the afternoon of 9 March. They were killed instantly by a motorway bridge that collapsed on their car as they were travelling towards Ancona, a city in the central Italian region of Marche, for a hospital appointment.

Their son, Daniele Diomede, is a former manager of an Italian football team, the Sambenedettese, which plays in the League One-equivalent Lega Pro. "They were two exceptional people, whom God called to him too early" he told the Italian news agency Ansa.

The couple had recently celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary. Daniele had shared a picture of the two of them on Instagram on 14 February, to wish them a happy Valentine's day and a happy anniversary, which fell on the same day. "The absolute love," he captioned the photo. Underneath the post, social media users have now left messages of condolences and sympathy.

The mayor of Spinetoli, the town where the couple lived, told local media of the heartbreak at the "tragic news" of their death. "They were lovely people, so attached to our territory that they did not just contributed financially to the organisation of celebrations and events, but personally too, especially in the summertimes," mayor Alessandro Luciani said.

The couple ran a small garment manufacturers. Luciani said he was a personal friend of the couple and their two children, Daniela and Daniele. The couple was going to become grandparents for the third time, as their daughter has two kids and their son's wife is expecting. "It's a loss that hits us all and in the local assembly we will discuss how to remember them at the funeral".

The bridge, which was being restored, suddenly caved in, killing the couple instantly and injuring three other people, Romanian workers who were conducting the improvement works for the Italian company Delabech. They fell from a height of 6-7 meters but were not seriously injured.

"We did not understand what was happening, at some point everything crumbled and we found ourselves on the ground", one of the workers, whose name was not published, told the Italian news agency.

Eyewitnesses also spoke of the shocking, sudden collapse of the bridge. "I found it in front of me, collapsed, suddenly, we are still under shock. Then we understood underneath it there was a car with people in it. Terrible..." a young man called Francesco told Ansa. "It's a miracle we're alive".

The national motorway operator said the bridge was a provisional structure positioned in support of the overpass, which was closed to traffic. The bridge broke from its sides, crashing to the ground.

The motorway was reopened to the traffic in the morning of 10 March after works to free the road from the bridge debris were carried out all night. Italian authorities have opened a manslaughter investigation into the collapse.