ROME—A bus carrying Hungarian school 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 reportedly survived, though some were seriously injured.
Sixteen badly burned bodies were pulled from the wreckage. Of the 39 survivors, 26 were injured, some seriously, said police commander Girolamo Lacquaniti.
“One passenger is currently in an induced coma and in life-threatening condition,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjarto told reporters in Budapest.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and it wasn’t clear why the bus crashed into the overpass support column on the highway near Verona just before midnight, Lacquaniti said.
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. The truck driver stayed at the scene trying to help until investigators arrived, 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—for reasons yet to be determined.