Italy Tour Bus Crash Leaves Dozens Dead

A bus crash in Italy killed at least 36 people on Sunday night. The bus was carrying pilgrims returning from a Catholic shrine for the weekend.

The tour bus plunged off a highway and into a ravine almost 100 feet down after it smashed into several cars that had slowed down from heavy traffic.

Highway officials noted that flashing signs near Avellino warned of slowed traffic before the bus crash happened, reports The Associated Press.

However, it seems that the driver may not have heeded the warnings. While a reason for the crash has not been determined, it appears the bus driver lost control of the vehicle.

Firefighters worked at the crash scene for hours. They announced that the pulled out 36 bodies so far and 11 people, who were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The mangled wreckage of the bus was laying on its side in a clearing by a wooded area. State radio quoted an Avellino police officer as saying that the bus driver was among those killed in the crash. The BBC notes that about 50 people were on board the bus when it crashed. Reports say the dead and injured included adults and children.

TV footage of the bus crash in Italy showed smashed vehicles on the bridge and bodies covered by sheets lined up by the side of a road. The ANSA Italian news agency added that most of the passengers were from Italy’s Campania area around Naples.

A local reporter for Naples daily Il Mattino commented that some witnesses recalled the bus going a normal speed before the accident on a downhill stretch of the highway. However, the bus suddenly veered and started hitting cars. Some witnesses reported hearing a noise that suggested the bus may have blown a tire.

There is no word on whether the death toll in the Italy bus crash could change. Another accident in Europe involving an express train in Spain killed 78 people last week.

[Image vis ShutterStock]