Italian bus crash kills 39; second European transport disaster in five days

The wreckage of a coach which plunged off a viaduct is loaded onto a trailer near the southern town of Avellino July 29, 2013.  Credit: Reuters
The wreckage of a coach that plunged off a viaduct is loaded onto a trailer near the southern town of Avellino on Monday.
Credit: Reuters

Thirty-nine people were killed and around 10 injured when a bus plunged off a viaduct in southern Italy in what Prime Minister Enrico Letta described on Monday as a huge tragedy.

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. There were around 50 people on board, including many children.

It was one of the worst road accidents in Italy’s history, and the second transport disaster to hit southern Europe in the space of five days. Seventy-nine people were killed when a high-speed train derailed in the Spanish pilgrimage town of Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday.

Letta, on an official visit to Athens, canceled 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,” he told reporters. “It is a huge tragedy.”

A statement from motorway operator Autostrade per l’Italia said the coach appeared to have been travelling fast in the vicinity of slower-moving traffic, even though the lower speed had been clearly indicated.

“You would think that the barriers on the viaducts and bridges should prevent this type of accident, but evidently it seems the impact was so strong that even the barrier gave way,” said Alessio Barbarulo, head of the local fire brigade division that coordinated the rescue effort.

As rescue services worked, crushed wreckage from the coach lay on its side, while bodies covered in white sheets were lined up on the road before being taken away by ambulances.

Thirty-six people were killed immediately and another three died later in hospital, a police official said.

Infrastructure Minister Maurizio Lupi said it was too early to say what may have caused the accident but that there was no indication of technical problems with the bus, which had passed its annual inspection in March.

An official from the prosecutor’s office in nearby Avellino said investigations would look at the possibility of manslaughter or causing an accident. The driver was killed in the crash.

All of the victims appear to have been Italians returning from an excursion to the town of Telese Terme, known for its hot sulphurous springs and a nearby lake popular as a fishing spot.

Local media said the stretch of road where the bus crashed had been the scene of repeated accidents.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New Apple devices include default kill switch

By Marina LopesWASHINGTON (Reuters) - New Apple Inc phones include a theft deterrent system that enables users to lock their devices and wipe them clean…

National

PHOTO: Photographer comes face-to-face with deadly crocodile

A deadly crocodile comes face-to-face with a courageous photographer, who manages to take a set of jaw-dropping pictures of the teeth-baring reptile.

Local

Brooklyn packed for annual West Indian Day Parade

Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway was packed Monday with an estimated one million people showing up on Labor Day to celebrate West Indian culture.

Local

James Michael Tyler on Gunther, Central Perk and…

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Going Out

Where to eat and drink during Oktoberfest in…

Paulaner In the Bowery, this Bavarian restaurant/brewery will start the celebrations at 8 p.m. Saturday with the premiere of master brewer Andreas Heidenreich’s Oktoberfest brew.…

Going Out

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest in NYC

Germany is a land of contradictions — is there an explanation for how the same country produced lederhosen and Rammstein? But they all managed to agree…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this weekend, Sept.…

BEHIND THE SCENES New York on Location Sept. 21, 11 a.m. Kaufman Astoria Studios 36 Street between 34 and 35 avenues, Astoria Free, www.movingimage.us Have…

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend,…

Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival Sept. 18-22, various times The Bell House, 149 Seventh St. Union Hall, 702 Union St. $10-$20, www.eugenemirmancomedyfestival.com In addition to the usual…

NFL

Eric Decker 'unlikely to play' against Bears: Source

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker's status for Monday night’s game against the Bears is in doubt after he missed practice again Wednesday.

NFL

Preston Parker, not Odell Beckham, will replace Jerrel…

Tom Coughlin noted the next man up will be unheralded veteran Preston Parker.

NFL

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL

Fantasy football: Run with Knile Davis, Khiry Robinson,…

Fantasy football: Run with Knile Davis, Khiry Robinson, Donald Brown

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…

Career

Here's why the newly-crowned Miss America deleted her…

Miss America pageant winner Kira Kazantsev quietly deleted her LinkedIn profile this week after her work history came under attack by conservative critics. Many of the…

Career

Zosia Mamet explains why leaning in is not…

Zosia Mamet is living proof that even if you don't think you can get a job you're going for, you should still try. Along with…