Sixteen people died when a coach bringing Hungarian teenagers home from a skiing trip crashed and burst into flames on a northern Italian motorway overnight, authorities said Saturday.
It appeared the death toll from the tragedy near Verona at around 11:00 pm (2200 GMT) could have been much worse had it not been for the bravery and quick thinking of a teacher.
Emergency workers said that the bus carrying 56 people returning from France, most of them teenagers aged 14-16 as well as several teachers and two drivers, ploughed into a bridge pillar. A huge inferno very quickly engulfed the bus, dramatic pictures released by police showed, completely destroying the interior and reducing the vehicle to a burned-out wreck.
Some were killed when they were hurled from the coach on impact, but most of the victims were found badly charred inside the vehicle after being unable to escape in time.—APP