Death toll in Italy bus crash rises to 38; driver among the dead. The bus lost control near the town of Monteforte Irpino in Irpinia, a largely agricultural area about 40 miles inland from Naples and 160 miles south of Rome, hitting several cars before plunging some 100 feet off a viaduct on Sunday night. The bus was carrying a group of weekend holiday makers from Pozzuoli, Monterusciello and other towns on the coast east of Naples. The group had arrived at a hotel on Friday afternoon and had spent the weekend visiting the spa and an early home of Padre Pio, a late mystic monk popular among Catholics, becomen Saint.
Investigators were on Monday trying to work out why a bus careered out of control into slow-moving traffic then plunged nearly 100 feet down a steep ravine in southern Italy, killing 38 people and injuring 16.
The uncle of a survivor reportedly said that she thought a tire had blown and that the driver had tried desperately to stay in control of the vehicle. But tests will be be carried out on the driver to establish whether he had had a medical problem or drank alcohol, a medical official said; as well as investigators are trying to understand if the work in progress were properly indicated by the company managing the highway.
The autopsy will tell us whether the driver had a stroke or drank alcohol
Giuseppe Rosato, an executive at the San Guiseppe Moscati Hospital in Avellino, told the station.
One vehicle was reportedly completely destroyed by the bus, while another was smashed on its side.
Vicenzo Rusciano, whose niece Anna was a passenger on the bus, told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that she thought the left rear tire had blown. But probably the tire blew after hitting the first vehicle.
The driver tried to keep control in all ways but did not succeed and the bus swerved ending up down the escarpment,”
Rusciano said.Some people on the bus (including) survived and were being treated in hospitals; some of them are still in a critical situation. Ten of the injured were on the bus; the other six were hurt when the bus hit their vehicles before falling into the ravine.
The bus looked as if it had been partially split open, The Associated Press reported.
Pope Francis expressed his condolences Monday to the friends and families of the 38 people who died; in a telegram sent by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, the pope said he “felt deep pain” over the incident “in which many people, including children, lost their lives”.