MONTEFORTE IRPINO, Italy - Thirty-eight people were killed
and 10 injured when a bus plunged off a viaduct in southern Italy in one of the
country's worst road accidents.
Initial reports suggested that the coach
was traveling 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.
Many children were among the 50 people on
"It was an immense tragedy where we first had to rescue the
injured people who were trapped inside the coach and then successively have had
to work to pull out the bodies," said Alessio Barbarulo, head of the local fire
brigade division that coordinated the rescue effort.
It was 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.
from the coach lay on its side, while bodies covered in white sheets were lined
up on the road. It was not clear for the moment whether there was any mechanical
damage to the vehicle's brakes or problems with its tyres, or whether there was
any fault on the part of the driver, who was killed in the accident.
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," Barbarulo said.
Prosecutors have already opened an
investigation into the case.
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