Death plunge disaster coach lost engine parts before crash
A speeding coach that crashed off an Italian flyover, killing 38 of its 48 passengers, may have lost parts of its engine shortly before it careered out of control, according to a report of early findings by accident investigators.
In what has been described as one of Italy's worst road accidents, the bus crashed through a concrete barrier on a flyover on the A16 motorway in the province of Avellino, southern Italy, and fell 100ft into a ravine.
A motorway worker has claimed he saw the bus heading for the flyover at speed with its front door open or broken, stated Italian news agency ANSA, which also reported that a component from the bus's engine was found by investigators on the road around a mile before the crash site.
"All the survivors were conscious although two later died, including a women in her 30s who spoke to the police one moment then suddenly collapsed and died, perhaps of a haemorrhage," said one fireman.
Fire crew chief Alessio Barbarulo said a family of four had miraculously survived the 100ft plunge. "They were not sitting together – it is just by chance they survived," he said. Survivors were being treated in local hospitals.
The passengers on the bus were returning to the town of Pozzuoli near Naples and had left their homes on Friday to visit a thermal bath and the home town near Benevento of Padre Pio, the popular Italian saint.
"These were families from council homes on a privately organised trip," said Father Paolo Auricchio, a priest from the area.
As lumps of loosened concrete threatened to topple from the flyover on to rescue workers, firemen used a crane to lift the bus to recover disfigured bodies as investigators set to work on discovering the cause of the crash.
Apart from the theory that the bus was losing parts and going too fast, one survivor told relatives the bus suffered a burst tyre seconds before it plunged off the flyover.
Vincenzo Rusciano, whose niece Annalisa was among the survivors, said she had told him the bus suffered a burst tyre.
The bus careered wildly, crashing into cars on the flyover before slamming into, and smashing through the concrete barrier, leaving 15 motorists injured.
"My niece told me a left-side tyre of the bus burst. The driver tried to keep control in any way possible but could not manage and the bus swerved, ending up in the ravine," he said.
The bodies were taken to the school gym in the small town of Monteforte Irpino, where streams of relatives of the dead arrived to walk down lines of open coffins, identifying their lost family members. "It seems calm, but there is a lot of anger here," said Fr Auricchio.
"I have lost my sister and her son – my wife just called me at work to tell me to come here," said Amadeo Musto (56), whose body shook with silent sobs as he spoke. (© Daily Telegraph, London)