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'AT LEAST 36 DEAD' IN ITALY COACH CRASH; Bus plunges 100ft off viaduct.

Byline: PIERS EADY mirrornews@mirror.co.uk

AT least 36 people - including children - were feared killed and many injured last night after a coach plunged more than 100ft off a viaduct in southern Italy.

The coach was carrying 50 passengers to Naples from Canosa di Puglia, where they had been on a pilgrimage.

One emergency service rescuer, among the first on the scene, said: "We are trying to rescue as many people as possible but there are already bodies lying about."

The bus is believed to have careered into other cars before it plunged over the viaduct, scattering passengers across the mountainous rubble.

Fire chief Pellegrino Iandolo said: "The situation is critical. Our men are working to save as many lives as possible."

It is thought the coach had been travelling back to Naples after a pilgrims' trip to honour St Pio of Pietrelcina popularly known as Padre Pio.

It is the second pilgrimage that has ended in multiple deaths on mainland Europe in a matter of days, after 79 were killed in the Spanish train disaster heading to the pilgrim site of Santiago de Compostela. At least 11 were pulled out alive as the first of the emergency services reached the scene. But white-faced rescuers found 33 bodies inside the bus and three more trapped underneath.

The coach's passengers were returning from a tour of pilgrimage sites in the south of Italy to Giugliano in Campania, a town near Naples, when their vehicle skidded off a stretch of the A16 motorway between Monteforte Irpino and Baiano.

As darkness fell firefighters and medics were searching through the wreckage to find passengers who may have been flung yards from the crashed vehicle as it plunged down the slope.

And it was thought the careering bus may have had braking problems as it hit the crash barrier The driver is thought to be among those who died.

Death train driver bailed: Page 22
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 29, 2013
Words:321
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