Monday, July 29, 2013

Italy: Thirty-Nine Killed When Tour Bus Plunges 100 Feet from Roadway After Crashing into 11 Vehicles

According to CNN, a bus returning pilgrims from a weekend visit to a Catholic shrine went off a bridge in southern Italy (near Naples) on Sunday (July 28), leaving at least 39 dead, including children.

The death toll rose by two after one person who was hospitalized died, and the body of another victim was found under the bus, according to first responders. 

Police did not have an exact number of passengers on the bus, though reports indicate as many as 50 may have been on board.

The passengers were participating in a weekend pilgrimage to the Padre Pio shrine in Pietrelcina at the time of the crash.

Andrea Regione, a photographer for the Corriere dell'Irpinia, told CNN that the bus went off a bridge and fell roughly 30 meters (almost 100 feet) into a heavily wooded area below. Photos from the scene showed a broken guardrail and the bus laying on its side.

COMMENT: Police said the bus struck eleven vehicles on the road before falling off the bridge, leading police to suspect the bus may have had brake problems, although the cause of the collision is still under investigation.
The driver of the bus is said to be among the dead.

As most of our readers know all too well, I have often vocalized my concern over the large number of tour bus accidents that we see weekly all over the world.

Sadly, many of these accidents occur largely because of the diminished maneuverability of such large vehicles; outdated roadways; a lack of  electronic signage for road work and changing road conditions; diminished maintenance of vehicles; and inexperienced drivers. These discrepancies are further highlighted when tour buses are traveling on elevated roadways and operating in mountainous regions. 

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.