At least 21 people have been killed, including two children, and 18 injured after a passenger bus plunged from an overpass near Venice in an “apocalyptic” accident, say Italian authorities.
The vehicle was travelling from Venice to a campsite at Marghera when the shocking accident took place at the elevated street in Mestre on Tuesday.
“It completely went off the road, it flew off the bridge. It was a bus; it was a highway. We are in mourning,” Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro told Italy’s national broadcaster RAI.
He added that the scene of the crash was “apocalyptic” and that he had already declared the “city’s mourning” for the “numerous victims”
Pictures of the accident show that the bus fell several metres from the overpass and overturned near railway tracks where it caught fire.
Officials say that the accident took place on a raised section of the overpass that the bus broke through before falling to the ground below.
Morris Ceron, general director of the municipality of Venice, told RAI that two children were among the victims of the crash and that the bus was believed to have foreigners aboard as it headed towards a campsite.
Luca Zaia, president of Italy’s Veneto region, called the bus crash “a tragedy of enormous proportions” and also confirmed that “the victims and injured are of various nationalities, not just Italians.”
He said that more than 20 ambulances had been used at the scene and also the Treviso air ambulance. The injured were taken to hospitals in Mestre, Mirano, Padua and Treviso.
Renato Boraso, a Venice city official, said that some of the foreigners on the bus were Ukrainians.
The Italian prime minister offered her condolence in the wake of the accident.
“I express my personal and the Government’s deepest condolences for the serious accident that occurred in Mestre. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their family and friends,” Giorgia Meloni wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen offered her “condolences to the families of the victims and those injured in the serious accident in Mestre,” in a post on X on Monday night.