ROME, July 29 (RIA Novosti) - A bus swerved off a flyover and plunged into a ravine near the town of Avellino in southern Italy late on Sunday, over 30 people could be dead, Italian media reported on Monday.
According to initial information, the bus carrying pilgrims was travelling along the A16 highway from the town of Canosa to Naples when it swerved, hit several vehicles, crashed through the guard rail and fell about 30 meters (98 feet) down the slope. Eyewitnesses said the bus may have had brake problems.
The total number of victims is yet to be confirmed as rescuers are still pulling people from the wreckage. Initial reports said seven people had died. Italy’s ANSA news agency said the bodies of at least 24 victims had been recovered.
An ANSA photographer, who was working at the crash site, said he saw about 30 dead bodies.
“There are a dozen smashed cars on the highway. Some people are slightly injured… Thirty bodies covered with white sheets are lined up along the road,” Il Messaggero quoted ANSA photographer Cesare Abbate as saying.
Agence France-Presse reported, citing rescuers, that 36 dead bodies were pulled from the wreckage – 33 were found inside the bus and three under it. It is yet unknown whether the rescue effort is over.
Milan’s Corriere della Sera newspaper said about a dozen of injured, most of them in serious condition, were rushed to hospitals in nearby towns.
Firefighters working at the scene told ANSA that 11 people - six women, two men and three children - survived the disaster and were hospitalized in “extremely serious condition.” They also said that a twelfth survivor - a woman - was pulled alive from the wreckage, but “literally died in their hands.”
The driver was among the dead, the La Repubblica newspaper and Corriere della Sera said.
The Naples-Bari highway had been closed to traffic because of the accident.
Updates death toll