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16, mostly Hungarian teenagers, killed in Italy bus accident

The bus was carrying mostly teenage students from a Budapest secondary school, who were returning from their annual ski camp in France along with their teachers and parents.

world Updated: Jan 21, 2017 16:20 IST
Reuters, Verona/Budapest
Bus crash,Italy,Hungary
Firefighters spray water on the burnt bus that crashed and burst into flames near Verona in northern Italy on Friday night. Police say 16 people died when the bus carrying Hungarian students returning home from France met with an accident.(AP/ANSA)

At least 16 people were killed and about 40 injured when a bus carrying Hungarian students burst into flames on a highway in northern Italy, police and the fire service said on Saturday.

The bus went off the road near a highway exit close to the city of Verona overnight.

The local highway police chief said the bus was carrying mostly teenage students, teachers and parents.

“Many children among the victims of the accident in Verona, a bus catches fire on impact with a pillar,” the national police said on Twitter, adding that they had come to Italy from France.

Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto told a news conference that the teenagers were from a Budapest secondary school, returning from their annual ski camp in France.

He added that there was uncertainty over the exact number of passengers in the bus, but it was higher than the director of the school had known about.

Szijjarto said that one of the victims, whose life was at risk, was being kept in coma, and that all of the injured were in hospital.

The minister added that 12 passengers were “well” and were staying in a hotel in the southern part of Verona.

Local highway police chief Girolamo Lacquaniti told SkyTG24 television that some people had minor injuries, but others were more serious.

Lacquaniti said the cause of the crash would be investigated. “We are not aware of other vehicles being involved, it seems to have gone off the road of its own accord.”

Police released photographs and television footage of the burned-out hulk near a road bridge. The wreckage had been removed from the road by around 0800 GMT.

“With my prayers, I am with the families and friends shocked by the tragedy,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a statement sent to the national news agency MTI.

First Published: Jan 21, 2017 13:16 IST