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At least 37 tourists killed after coach plunged 100ft into ravine in Italy

Updated: 29 Jul 2013
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bus crash
Serious incident: Rescuers line up the bodies of victims of a bus crash last night on the road between Monteforte Irpino and Baiano in Italy. At least 30 people are said to have died when the coach plunged 100ft
 
bus crash
Crash site: Rescue operations were continuing and four young children were pulled alive from the coach
 
bus crash
Coach wreckage: Highway police told state radio that the bus slammed into several cars which had slowed for heavy traffic before plunging off the highway and falling dozens of yards down the ravine
 
At least 37 tourists died last night after a coach plunged 100ft off a highway into a ravine in Italy, police and rescuers said.
 
The coach was travelling between Monteforte Irpino and Baiano in the southern region of Campania as it carried around 50 tourists back to Naples.
 
Rescue operations were continuing early this morning and four young children were pulled alive from the stricken coach, a fire service spokesman said, adding: ‘The situation is dramatic.’
 

Italian news agency ANSA quoted its photographer, Cesare Abbate, at the scene in a rural area near Avellino as saying he saw some 30 bodies covered by sheets near the bus after the crash last night.
 
Highway police told state radio that the bus slammed into several cars which had slowed for heavy traffic before plunging off the highway and falling dozens of yards down the ravine.
 

ANSA quoted firefighters among the rescuers as also saying at least 11 people were injured in the crash on the 116 autostrada near Avellino, some 160 miles south of Rome.
 
State radio quoted police as saying the driver was among the dead, and Italian TV quoted people at the scene as saying about 49 people were on the bus. The bus looked as if it had partially split open.
 
Motorists and their passengers whose vehicles were hit by the bus stood on the highway near their vehicles. One car's rear was completely crumpled, while another was smashed on its side.
 

It was not immediately known if there were injuries in any of those cars.
 
Italian news reports said the bus could hold a little more than 50 passengers and that it was almost filled on the ride back after an excursion from the southeastern Puglia area.
 
This is popular with Catholic faithful who admire Padre Pio, a late mystic monk who was based there. Most of the passengers were from the Campania area around Naples, ANSA said.
 
A reporter for Naples daily Il Mattino, Giuseppe Crimaldi, told Sky TG24 TV from the scene that some witnesses told him the bus had been going at a 'normal' speed on the downhill stretch of the highway when it suddenly veered and started hitting cars.
 
He said some witnesses thought they heard a noise as if the bus had blown a tyre. A local prosecutor arrived at the crash scene to begin an investigation into the cause of the crash.
 
SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk
 
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