21 people died on Tuesday after a bus carrying tourists to a campground fell from a Venice bridge in northern Italy, the city’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, was quoted as saying by Italian newspaper la Repubblica.
“A tragedy has struck our community this evening”, resulting in “many victims among those present on the bus that fell” from a bridge near Mestre, on dry land, mayor Luigi Brugnaro wrote on Facebook, describing it as “an apocalyptic scene.”
The bus veered off the road and fell close to railway lines in the district of Mestre, which is connected to Venice by a bridge, Italian news agencies and television reported, but the cause of the accident was still unclear.
Officials said the vehicle fell 30 metres (98 feet) onto electricity lines and caught fire at around 7:45 p.m. local time (1745 GMT).
Firefighters said the bus caught fire after careering off a bridge linking the Mestre and Marghera districts.
“It’s an apocalyptic scene. I am speechless,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The head of the local firefighters said the victims so far identified were Ukrainian tourists. Italian news agency ANSA said Germans as well as Ukrainians were among the passengers.
Italy has suffered a number of deadly bus crashes in recent years.
In 2017, 16 people on board a bus carrying Hungarian students died in an accident near the northern city of Verona, while in 2013, 40 people died when a bus plunged off a viaduct in southern Italy in one of the country’s worst road accidents.
“The bus is totally crushed. The firefighters had difficulty getting a lot of the bodies out,” Di Bari told Sky Italia television. He said 21 people had died, including the Italian driver and two children.
In Italy, the prefect acts as the local representative of the interior ministry.
Venice’s city hall later said 18 people were injured and had been taken to nearby hospitals, with four in a serious condition.