VENICE, Italy, Oct 3 (Reuters) – At least 21 people were killed on Tuesday when a city bus carrying tourists crashed off an overpass and caught fire near the northern Italian city of Venice, the city’s mayor, Michele De Bari, said.
The bus veered off the road near train tracks in the Mestre district, which is connected to Venice by bridge. The cause of the accident is still unclear.
Authorities said the vehicle fell on a 30-meter (98-foot) power line and caught fire at around 7:45 p.m. local time (1745 GMT).
“It’s an apocalyptic scene. I’m speechless,” Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The head of the local fire brigade said that those identified so far were Ukrainian tourists. Italian news agency ANSA reported that the passengers included Germans and Ukrainians.
De Barry said he could not confirm this.
Italy has suffered several fatal bus accidents in recent years.
In 2017, 16 people died in a bus carrying Hungarian students in a crash near the northern city of Verona, and in 2013, 40 people were killed when a bus overturned on a freeway in southern Italy in one of the country’s worst road accidents.
“The bus was completely crushed. Firefighters had difficulty removing many bodies,” De Bari told Sky Italia television. He said 21 people died, including the Italian driver and two children.
In Italy, the prefect acts as the local representative of the Ministry of the Interior.
Venice’s city hall later said 18 people were injured and taken to nearby hospitals, four in critical condition.
Prime Minister Georgia Meloni offered her condolences, saying in a statement that her government’s thoughts were “with the victims, their families and their friends”.
Additional reporting by Emilio Barodi, Alves Armellini, Gavin Jones; Written by Gavin Jones and Crispian Palmer; Editing by Jonathan Otis and Lisa Schumacher
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