An Italian bus driver of Senegalese origin attempted to set a bus with 51 people, mostly children and their parents, on fire in Milan on 20 March, RaiNews24 reported. The man changed the bus's course, which was taking school children home in Crema after outdoor activities, then announced that he wanted to kill himself to "stop deaths in the Mediterranean Sea" and proceeded to threaten passengers with a knife, the online media outlet reported.
Appicca fuoco su un bus con scolaresca a bordo, fermato. L'uomo ha sparso del combustibile sui sedili e nel corridoio dell'autobus. Poi ha appiccato il fuoco. Salvini: "Perché guidava un pullman per trasportare ragazzini"? → https://t.co/LT32WZniSQ pic.twitter.com/AVEghCoM2p— Rainews (@RaiNews) March 20, 2019
Revocare la licenza subito di trasporti dell' azienda di #cremaAPunt scuola bus di San Donato Milanese che ha messo al volante un delinquente con precedenti per ubriachezza e violenza sessuale #SanDonatoMilanese #milano. pic.twitter.com/x1M7D90y3I— il TAXI di MILANO% 🚕 (@SergioSierra67) March 20, 2019
One of the children reportedly managed to call their parents, who in turn called emergency services and the police. The latter set up roadblocks, which the driver tried to ram, but eventually lost control of the bus and had to stop, according to RaiNews24. After this, the bus driver allegedly poured gasoline inside the bus and ignited it. However, police managed to rescue the passengers through the windows and the back door.
The 47-year-old bus driver, Ousseynou Sy, who already had a criminal record, has been arrested. According to the medics cited by RaiNews24, none of the passengers sustained injuries, but 12 children and 2 adults were taken to the hospital with symptoms of smoke poisoning.
Un senegalese è stato arrestato dopo aver sequestrato uno scuolabus con 51 studenti e dato fuoco al mezzo. L’uomo, italiano dal 2004 e con precedenti per ubriachezza e violenza sessuale, voleva uccidersi.“La faccio finita, vanno fermate le morti in mare". Nessun ragazzo ferito pic.twitter.com/i1adiwNXJn— Giank-deR 🇮🇹 (@GiancarloDeRisi) March 20, 2019
Although Ousseynou Sy hasn't fully clarified his statements about "deaths in the Mediterranean Sea", he was apparently referring to the multitude of cases of migrants from Africa and the Middle East drowning while trying to illegally reach Europe by boat.