• Italy edition
 
Manslaughter probe launched into bus crash
The coach plunged 30 metres down a slope. Photo: AFP/Stringer

Manslaughter probe launched into bus crash

Published: 29 Jul 2013 00:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Jul 2013 00:28 GMT+02:00

A coach carrying pilgrims plunged off a motorway flyover in southern Italy, killing at least 38 people in one of the worst such accidents in Europe in recent years.

Local prosecutors on Monday launched an investigation into possible manslaughter over Sunday evening's accident close to the town of Avellino near Naples, according to Italian media reports.

Rescuers were still battling Monday to extract people from the wreckage.

The vehicle, carrying about 50 people, had been travelling at high speed when it crashed on a busy dual carriageway between Naples and Bari in an area Italian media described as an accident black spot.

It rammed several cars before plunging through a crash barrier and down a steep slope before coming to a stop on its side off the road about 50 kilometres from Naples.

The driver was among the dead and at least a dozen people were injured, including children. There were reports that some people in the dozen or so cars caught up in the chaos had also been hurt.

Italian news agency ANSA said the manslaughter probe would look into the possible role of the driver in the accident, as well as the state of the coach and the crash barrier on the highway.

Ansa said the driver's body would be examined for the possible presence of alcohol or drugs while traffic police have seized the vehicle documents from the coach operator Mondotravel.

An AFP photographer at the scene described rescue workers searching the crash site early Monday under arc-lights set up around the wreckage of the coach.

"The situation is critical. Our men are working to save as many lives as possible," fire chief Pellegrino Iandolo told Sky TG24.

Rescue workers said they had pulled 33 bodies from the wreckage and found three more of people thrown from the vehicle as it plunged 30 metres down a slope.

Another two died in hospital of their injuries.

"We are still trying to extract people from the vehicle," a police spokesman said. "Our priority now is to free the wounded."

Photographers at the scene described how fire crews raced to find any remaining survivors, as the victims were laid out under white sheets along the roadside.

They said about a dozen wrecked cars littered the highway.

"Looking down from the overpass, the scene of the tragedy: some 30 bodies covered by white sheets, lined up along the roadside," said Cesare Abbate of Italy's ANSA news agency.

From time to time, rescue workers called for "a moment of silence" to listen for signs of life from the wreckage, he said.

One survivor, quoted by his uncle who met him in hospital, reported hearing a tyre exploding and that the driver had been unable to control the vehicle.

The passengers had been returning to Naples following a pilgrimage to Pietrelcina, the birthplace of Saint Pio, an Italian priest canonised in 2002 who is highly venerated in southern Italy.

The Naples-Bari highway has been closed to traffic, the police said.

The last major coach accident in Europe was in March 2012 in Switzerland, when a coach carrying Belgian schoolchildren home from a skiing holiday crashed, killing 28 people, including 22 children.

The accident also comes just days after a train crash in Spain last Wednesday which killed 79 people, the deadliest rail disaster in the country in decades.

The driver appeared in court on Sunday on 79 counts of reckless homicide over the crash near the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela, northwest Spain.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy backs Nazi victim claims against Germany
The liberation of Rome from Nazi occupation on June 4th 1944. Photo: HO/AFP

Italy backs Nazi victim claims against Germany

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Italian town plans separate bus for Roma
The bus segregation plan was discussed at the town hall on Thursday. Photo: F Ceragioli/Wikimedia Commons

Italian town plans separate bus for Roma

A mayor in north-west Italy has backed a controversial plan to create a bus route only for Roma people, a move which has been likened to the segregation policies of Apartheid South Africa, Italian media reported on Friday. READ  

The Local List
Ten of the best students bars in Rome
Rome is a popular city for students. Student s in Rome photo: Shutterstock

Ten of the best students bars in Rome

Rome has a huge and varied number of drinking holes to cater to the constant influx of students to the city. The Local takes you on a crawl of ten of the best. READ  

Vatican probes Italy's 'playboy priests'
Bishop Mario Oliveri has been accused of turning a blind eye to the actions of priests under his direction. Photo: RiccardoP1983/Wikimedia Commons

Vatican probes Italy's 'playboy priests'

The Vatican has launched an investigation into a diocese in north-west Italy following a series of scandals by “playboy priests”, including one being convicted for sexual abuse and another posting naked photos of himself on Facebook. READ  

Italy hit with €340m EU bill as France cashes in
The revelation comes as Italy comes under fire for its 2015 budget. Money photo: Shutterstock

Italy hit with €340m EU bill as France cashes in

Italy will have to pay the EU an estimated €340 million on December 1st, according to a leaked document which shows France is due to receive a €1 billion rebate. READ  

VIDEO
French football fans cause mayhem in Milan
St Etienne fans burn flares at Milan's San Siro stadium. Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

French football fans cause mayhem in Milan

Around 400 French football fans caused mayhem in Milan on Thursday evening, setting off firecrackers and damaging the city’s metro ahead of a Europa League tie between St Etienne and Inter Milan. READ  

Madonna in sisterhood pledge with singing nun
Madonna posted the above photo alongside her tweet in support of Sister Cristina's remake of Like a Virgin. Photo: Madonna Facebook page

Madonna in sisterhood pledge with singing nun

Pop star Madonna has pledged lifelong sisterhood with an Italian nun who released a remake of her provocative 1984 hit, Like A Virgin, earlier this week. READ  

Italy civil unions
Silvio Berlusconi backs gay union proposal
Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi has backed a proposal for a civil union law in Italy. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Silvio Berlusconi backs gay union proposal

Italy’s ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was once better known for his anti-gay gaffes, has backed a proposal for same-sex unions in Italy. READ  

Italy 2015 budget row
Renzi vows to publish cost of EU 'palaces'
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said "we're going to have some fun" publishing data "on everything that is spent by these palaces". Photo: Emanuel Dunand/AFP

Renzi vows to publish cost of EU 'palaces'

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Thursday announced his intention to make public the cost of the European institutions, as a row exploded over his country's budget plans. READ  

Sicilian woman killed by falling palm tree
The accident happened in the centre of Catania, eastern Sicily. Catania photo: Shutterstock

Sicilian woman killed by falling palm tree

A Sicilian woman died on Thursday when a palm tree fell on her in the city of Catania, an accident blamed on high winds and the possibility the tree could have been infected. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
'Italy is the real sick man of Europe'
Society
Semi-clad tourists dance in priceless fountain
National
Singing nun picks Like a Virgin for debut album
National
Where's the best place to live in Italy?
National
Amorous Italian couple get stuck in frolic at sea
Culture
Test your Italian history with The Local's quiz
Travel
Top ten: Travel warnings for Italy
International
Revealed: The cost of home comforts in Italy
Health
Nurse 'killed 38 patients for being annoying'
Culture
Breaking Balsamic: See US writer's potent parody
Opinion
Is Italy a desirable place for foreigners to work?
Culture
Top ten: Things Italian mothers say
Society
Mayors vow to defy gay marriage registration ban
Travel
How well do you know Italy's geography?
National
Ten Italian 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
Italian student tipped to win British X-Factor
Business & Money
Italy ranked ninth most desirable place to work
Education
Why Milan uni's English switch opened minds
National
The small Sicilian town with nine centenarians
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
National
President's barber: €99k state snippers overpaid
National
Is Italy really a bad place to grow old?
Education
Pisa storms into global uni rankings
National
Unruly Italy is EU's most disobedient country
National
Italy among worst places in EU to grow old
Travel
Brit in bid to set Milan metro travel record
International
Marriage scam: 179 Italian couples claim to live in British mail box
Politics
Italy's state barbers' pay trimmed...to €99,000
Politics
eBay users snub Italy’s luxury official cars
National
Udder joy: Italian man is world's best cow-milker
Business & Money
Chinese fashion titans look to Italy for value
National
Clooney wedding 'good news for the Middle East'
National
QUIZ: Test your Italian language skills
Education
Italy top of the class for teaching English
National
Italians offered €30 a day to host a migrant
Tech
Azerbaijan beats Italy in internet stakes
Society
Marriage scrapped due to 'mummy's boy' husband
Politics
Italy separatists unfazed by Scotland's 'no'
Culture
Ten 'rude' Italian phrases you can get away with
Health
7,000 apply for two nursing jobs in Veneto
Education
Mother laments number of 'foreigners' at school
Health
One quarter of Italian teens has tried cannabis
Travel
American tourists caught with Pompeii relic
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

676
jobs available