A tragic bus accident occurred near Venice in Mestre on Tuesday, resulting in the loss of at least 21 lives. The incident transpired when the bus skidded off an overpass above a railway line, plummeting a harrowing 30 meters onto the tracks. Additionally, 18 individuals sustained injuries in the accident, and the bus, upon impact, caused significant damage by tearing down power lines and igniting into flames.
Michele Di Bari, the prefect of Venice, revealed the devastating aftermath, describing how the bus was completely demolished. Firefighters faced immense challenges while recovering numerous bodies from the wreckage, which tragically included two children and the 40-year-old Italian driver. Among the victims were tourists hailing from Germany, France, and Ukraine.
Mariana Wernerová from the Foreign Ministry, when contacted by the Czech News Agency, stated, “Our Consulate General in Milan is in contact with the Italian police, who have confirmed that there were several foreigners at the scene. However, we have no information that Czech citizens were traveling on the bus.”
Furthermore, Renato Boraso, another official from Venice, disclosed that four of the injured individuals were in critical condition. Some sources even indicated that the number of severely injured passengers might be as high as five, according to the BBC.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi shed light on the accident, revealing that the bus had traveled a significant distance of 30 meters before the crash occurred. He pointed out that the bus being gas-powered likely exacerbated the situation, causing the fire to spread rapidly.
As for the cause of the accident, it remains unclear. An eyewitness recounted the moment, stating, “I heard heavy braking. I thought it was a train. Then I heard a bang. That startled me. I saw smoke outside and heard people screaming for help. When I got to the bus, the screams turned into a blood-curdling silence. I wanted to help, but my friends and a policewoman stopped me because the bus was still on fire and threatening to explode.”
However, Venice police chief Marco Agostini reported that initial investigations at the accident site did not reveal any signs of braking.
The bus had been chartered to transport tourists from a campsite in Marghera to Venice, tragically ending in this devastating catastrophe.