At least 16 die as bus carrying Hungarian students crashes

(ASSOCIATED PRESS)  A bus carrying Hungarian students home from a skiing trip to France slammed into a highway barrier in northern Italy and caught fire, killing at least 16 people, police said Saturday. Thirty-nine people survived, though some were seriously injured.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and it wasn’t clear why the bus hit the overpass support column on the highway near Verona just before midnight, said police commander Girolamo Lacquaniti.

Sixteen badly burned bodies were pulled from the wreckage. Of the 39 survivors, 26 were injured, some seriously, he said.

“One passenger is currently in an induced coma and in life-threatening condition,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjarto told reporters in Budapest.

According to Szijjarto, the bus driver lost control of the vehicle, which hit a guard rail and then the overpass support before catching fire. Investigators have found no brake marks at the scene, he said.

RAI state radio said a Slovenian truck driver who was traveling behind the bus had noticed a problem with one of the bus wheels and tried to alert the driver. But the driver didn’t react quickly enough, RAI said.

Hungary’s Foreign Ministry said it had information that there were 54 passengers, including adults accompanying the students, and two drivers aboard, but it believes the actual number was higher.

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