Officials said that a bus carrying about 40 passengers veered off a high bridge, fell 15 meters and caught fire.
More than 20 people were killed and 18 others injured after a bus carrying foreign tourists plunged off a high bridge, fell 15 meters and caught fire near Venice in northern Italy, officials said.
The bus veered off the road on Tuesday evening at around 19:45 pm local time (17:45 GMT), hit a barrier, fell onto power lines and caught fire, according to reports.
“Horrific scene, there are no words,” Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said in a post on social media.
The mayor of Venice said that official mourning was declared in Venice in memory of the victims.
A great tragedy has struck our community this evening.
The city was immediately ordered to mourn the memory of the many victims who were on board the fallen bus.
Horrific scene, no words. pic.twitter.com/APnsQoPMkL
– Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) October 3, 2023
[Unofficial translation: A huge tragedy struck our community this evening. I immediately ordered the city to mourn, in memory of the numerous victims who were on the fallen bus. An apocalyptic scene, there are no words.]
The cause of the horrific accident was not clear.
Renato Borasso, a member of the Venice City Council, said that the bus was carrying 40 passengers, 21 of whom died and 18 others were injured.
Borasso warned that the death toll could rise because many of those injured in the accident are in critical condition in hospital.
“It is a terrible tragedy, the city is in mourning,” Borasso told Sky Italia television.
Venice Governor Michele De Bari, the local representative of the Interior Ministry, said five of the victims were Ukrainian and one was German. The Italian news agency ANSA reported that the bus was also carrying passengers from France and Croatia.
“The bus was completely destroyed. Firefighters had difficulty removing so many bodies,” De Bari told Sky Italia television, adding that among the victims were two children.
Late Tuesday evening, rescuers were still struggling to remove the wreckage of the bus to ensure there were no more passengers trapped inside.
Veneto region governor Luca Zaia told RAI state television that the cause of the accident was still unclear.
“It is an important tragedy, but it is difficult to understand how it happened,” Zaya said. “The bus was new and electric, and this street wasn’t particularly problematic.”
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed her condolences, saying in a statement that her government sympathizes with “the victims, their families and friends.”
Italy has witnessed a number of fatal bus accidents in recent years.
In 2017, 16 people died on a bus carrying Hungarian students in an accident near the northern city of Verona, while 40 people died in 2013 when a bus fell off a bridge in southern Italy.
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