Investigations into Italy bus crash in which 16 killed

Bus with 56 people on board caught fire on motorway near Verona after hitting a mast


Italian and Hungarian authorities have begun investigations into the cause of a bus crash in northern Italy that left 16 dead and two people with life-threatening injuries.

The bus was carrying teenage students from a Budapest school, their teachers and parents, returning from a ski trip in France. It burst into flames on a highway near Verona after going off the road and hitting a mast just before midnight on Friday.

Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said on Sunday that investigations were under way and confirmed that 56 people had been on the bus but that it could take days to identify the victims because of severe burns.

Italian authorities have taken DNA samples from some of the parents who have arrived in Verona, which will help to identify the victims, Mr Szijjarto said.

“Two people are in critical condition and have not yet been identified,” he said. “One of the injured has suffered third-degree burns on 60 per cent of his body.”

The minister added that, based on current information, the two people with critical injuries are both adults. Four other people remain in a severe condition, he said.

The majority of the injured have been discharged from hospital and many were returning to Hungary, a Verona hospital official told SKY TG24 news.

He added that two adults, one of whom suffered severe burns, could not be identified

Police had spoken to all the survivors to gather details about the accident, an official from Verona highway police headquarters said.

The official added that investigators were analysing “all possibilities”, including mechanical failure and the the possibility that the driver could have fallen asleep at the wheel.

“Our son called us straight after the accident happened. He was in shock. We got in the car immediately and set off for Italy,” Peter Hamori, a father of one of the survivors, told reporters.

Most of the teenagers have been allowed to leave the country and were returning with their parents. Others were accompanied by the Hungarian Red Cross, said Hungarian consul in Italy Judit Timaffy.

She added that a physical education teacher, who saved many passengers at the cost of severe burns to his body, had left for Budapest with his wife. Both their son and daughter had died in the accident, she said.