The coach fell in flames from a flyover, the so-called Vespa footbridge
At least 21 people were killed Tuesday when a burning coach plunged from a flyover near Venice in northern Italy, the city’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, was quoted as saying by Italian daily la Repubblica.
“A great tragedy has struck our community this afternoon. I immediately ordered the city in mourning, in memory of the many victims who were on the fallen bus. An apocalyptic scene, there are no words, said Mayor Brugnaro in X about the tragic accident that occurred in Mestre.
“The bus blew up 30 meters” and it seems that “the aggravating factor of the situation was determined by the fact that there was methane supply, and therefore the fire developed quickly, said Minister Piantedosi to RAI public television, before adding about the victims: “It is a very tragic and dramatic balance, but I fear that it may be destined to grow”.
Among the victims of the accident of the bus, which was a regular line, there are minors and citizens of various nationalities, said the president of the Venetto region, Luca Zaia.
“We are here in the midst of this great tragedy. We have already counted 20 dead, but I guess it is a number that is bound to increase. We are helping people,” the mayor added, speaking to a local television station.
Following the accident, which occurred shortly after 19.30 local time (17.30 GMT), on the Vespa footbridge, numerous ambulances and fire crews gathered at the scene, while rail traffic between Mestre and Venice’s Santa Lucia station was blocked.
The prefecture offered a provisional assessment of the tragedy, while rescue teams are working at the scene of the accident, where numerous ambulances and fire engines have gathered, according to local media.
Sky Italia reported that 18 bodies had so far been recovered from the wreckage of the burning coach, and that many other people had been injured.
The deputy prime minister and transport minister, Matteo Salvini, “is following the evolution of the dramatic incident in Mestre,” the ministry said in a statement. The Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, expressed her “deepest condolences, personally and from the whole government, for the serious accident in Mestre. My thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends. I am in close contact with the Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, and with the Minister (of the Interior) Matteo Piantedosi, to follow the news about this tragedy”.