At least 39 people killed after a bus crash, plungin more than 30 metres off flyover into ravine in southern part of country, on the highway leading from Bari to Naples. The bus collided with several cars before falling off the elevated highway. Thirty-nine people were killed and around 11 injured, including childs: the death toll rose by two after one person who was hospitalized died, and the body of another victim was found under the bus. State radio quoted Avellino police as saying the bus driver was among the dead. Injured children are at the pediatric hospital Santo Bono, in Naples. Initial reports suggested that the coach was travelling at speed and had hit four or five cars before crashing over the roadside barriers on a stretch of road near Monteforte Irpino, east of Naples, on Sunday night: it is one of the worst road accidents in Italy’s history.
Rescuers are still working wielding electric saws cut through the twisted metal to get to the interior of the bus, stopping occasionally to listen for any cries for help, even as the bodies were put into coffins to be taken to a morgue.
Passengers came from Pozzuoli, Monterusciello and other small towns near Naples, and relatives streamed to the crash site. Initial estimates said there were up to 49 people on board at the time of the accident.
The group was returning from a weekend excursion to the local Telese thermal baths and the popular pilgrimage destination of Pietralcina, home town of the Italian saint, Padre Pio.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said on Monday that he was “deeply saddened” by the bus crash in southern Italy that killed at least 38, possibly 39, and seriously injured 10 others overnight Sunday.
This tragedy reminds us of the need for a more decisive commitment to road-safety initiatives to reduce risk factors. Maintenance and driver checks must be scrupulous…to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others.
Napolitano said. Prime minister Enrico Letta describes what happened as a huge tragedy; Letta, on an official visit to Athens, cancelled a private visit to the historic Acropolis before meetings with his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras.
It is a very sad day for Italy, what happened last night. There are no words for it. It is a huge tragedy.
Police are investigating the braking system and tires of the bus; there were no skid marks indicating that the driver had braked, leading police to suspect the bus had brake problems. But the exact cause of the accident remains unknown, and every reason is still investigated, including a possible sudden illness of the driver.