16 dead as bus carrying Hungarian students crashes in Italy

The bus was returning from a skiing trip in France when it ploughed into a bridge pillar and burst into flames on a motorway in Italy.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Most of the passengers were teenagers aged between 14 and 16.

Sixteen people died when a coach bringing Hungarian teenagers home from a skiing trip crashed and burst into flames on a northern Italian motorway overnight, authorities said Saturday.

The tragedy occurred near Verona at around 11:00 pm (2200 GMT).

Emergency workers said that the bus carrying 56 people was returning from a trip from France. Most of the passengers were teenagers aged 14-16 as well. Several teachers were also accompanying them.

A huge fire very quickly engulfed the bus, completely destroying the interior and reducing the vehicle to a burned-out wreck.

The Hungarian government said that three people were in a very serious condition, including one in an artificial coma. Ten more were seriously hurt and 13 had minor injuries.

Girolamo Lacquaniti, Verona traffic police chief, said on radio that no other vehicle was involved, pointing to mechanical failure or human error such as the driver falling asleep.