May they all rest in peace: Funeral for 38 victims of Italian bus crash


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The Independent Online

Relatives wept and clutched coffins draped with flowers at a mass funeral held in Italy for the 38 victims who died in Sunday’s bus crash.

Friends and families of those who were killed crowded alongside the caskets and lined up before the altar at today’s service, held close to the town of Pozzuoli, in southern Italy.

Photographs of loved ones and memorabilia were also placed on the caskets – one had a photo of the deceased’s wedding day and a scarf of the Napoli football team.

One man, Franco, who lost a friend in the accident, said: “We feel terrible. We all know each other here. We are all a bit like brothers and sisters.”

Around 4,000 people were at the service, which was held in a sports hall, including Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

Gennaro Pascarella, Bishop of Pozzuoli, urged the authorities to determine the cause: “We must ensure this never happens again.”

He also urged support for the families of the deceased: “Political and religious institutions should not leave our brothers alone, especially those who have found themselves without any economic support.”

The coach plunged into a ravine from a viaduct near Monteforte Irpino on Sunday, hitting several other cars as it careered off the road.

Hundreds of relatives had to identify bodies on Monday, at a school that became a temporary morgue.

Another man, who said his name was Ciro, said: “They told me to look at all the bodies until I found my brother. It was like a mountain had fallen on my head.”

Ten more of the passengers on the coach were hurt in accident, while nine people were injured in cars the bus hit as it careered off the road. One survivor said that she believed she heard a tyre burst.

Police have ordered a post-mortem examination on the body of the driver who died in the accident.