Italy bus crash: Burst tyre may have caused coach to plunge from viaduct, killing at least 38

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Premier Enrico Letta cancels Greece trip, after 'huge tragedy'

MILAN

A burst tyre may have caused Sunday night’s horrific coach crash in southern Italy that killed at least 38 people after the vehicle plunged 30 metres from a viaduct, it has emerged.

The coach was carrying 48 holiday makers from Naples, including children, back from a visit to an early home of the popular saint Padre Pio, when the driver lost control at approximately 8.30 pm local time, near the town of Avellino in the hills outside Naples.

The coach smashed into the car in front causing a five-vehicle pile up on a bridge section of the A16 motorway before bursting through the crash barrier and falling into the escarpment.

Nine people in the five cars were injured. But their vehicles remained on the road. Ten other travellers in the coach were injured, all critically, one of whom is since thought to have died. Three young children were killed and five others injured, two of whom were, according to La Stampa, in a serious condition.

Rescue crews worked overnight to extract survivors and victims from the wreckage. A local school was converted into a makeshift morgue while the bodies are being identified.

The wounded were ferried to several different hospitals in the area, according to Alessio Barbarulo, commander of Avellino’s fire brigade.

Corriere della Sera reported this morning that so far 36 bodies had been recovered; 33 of the dead were found in the wrecked coach, and three bodies were found underneath the vehicle.

Italian Premier Enrico Letta cancelled a planned visit to the Acropolis in Athens. “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.”

Investigators say faulty braking may have contributed to the tragedy; a statement from the motorway operator Autostrade per l'Italia said the coach appeared to have been travelling fast in the vicinity of slower-moving traffic.

But a burst tyre was today seen as the most likely cause, after survivors spoke of such an incident in the seconds before the accident.

Vincenzo Rusciano, the uncle of one of the children rushed to hospital in Avellino, said: “My niece told me that a tyre on the left-had side of the bus exploded. The driver tried to take control any way he could, but he failed and the bus swerved and finished down in the ravine.”

Prosecutors have opened a manslaughter probe into the crash. Mr Barbarulo said: “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.”

It is not known whether the coach passengers were wearing seat belts – or if the vehicle had belts in working order.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accountant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Summarises financial status by ...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Recruitment Genius: Salesforce Developer

£50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Sales Executive

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss