Five Italians among 18 killed in Dominican bus crash | world | Hindustan Times
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Five Italians among 18 killed in Dominican bus crash

At least 18 people, including five Italian tourists, have been killed when two buses and a pickup truck crashed in the Dominican Republic.

world Updated: Aug 16, 2008 10:22 IST

At least 18 people, including five Italian tourists, were killed on Friday when two buses and a pickup truck crashed in the Dominican Republic, officials said.

"We recovered 18 bodies from the scene of the accident," and at least 20 people were injured, said Lucas Evangelista Perez Jose, an official in Higuey town near the accident, where a makeshift morgue was set up.

"We sent six seriously wounded people by helicopter to Santo Domingo. I don't know if any of them died," he said.

Five Italian tourists died, from a group of 23 travelling in one of the buses, Perez Jose said. "There were five foreign fatalities, all of them Italians," he said.

Emergency services coordinator Juan Manuel Mendez Garcia said an earlier toll of 23 dead was wrong due to a counting error.

The mutilated state of the bodies made counting difficult, he said, adding that the Dominican government was expected to give an official toll.

The Italian foreign ministry in Rome earlier said a "provisional" count showed that six Italian tourists were among those who died in the crash near the La Romana resort area in the province of La Altagracia 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of the capital, ANSA news agency said.

The accident occurred on Friday morning, at a time of the year when hotels in the area are filled with international travelers.

A tourist bus and a passenger bus collided head on when one attempted to pass a pick-up truck on a steep area with poor visibility, Civil Defense authorities said.

Witnesses described horrifying scenes of mutilated bodies and body parts scattered near the collision site.

Due to the impact of the crash, the doors of the buses were jammed shut, and dazed and wounded passengers waited hours to be rescued.

One of the buses, carrying more than 40 tourists to renowned Bavaro beach, flipped and lay across the road with its wheels in the air, the majority of its passengers trapped inside until rescuers arrived.