Monday 23 October 2017

Hero teacher saved dozens but lost own children in bus blaze

A survivor at the scene.
A survivor at the scene.

Pablo Gorondi Budapest

A hero teacher who rescued dozens of pupils from a horrific bus crash lost his own children in the accident on an Italian motorway.

Physical education teacher Gyorgy Vigh dashed repeatedly into the bus pulling students to safety after it burst into flames following the crash near Verona.

His 30-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter perished in the tragedy.

At least 16 people died on the bus, which was carrying Hungarian students returning to Budapest from a ski trip.

Officials say it could take days to officially identify the dead.

There were 54 passengers and two Hungarian drivers on the bus when it smashed into a roadside pillar at the weekend.

Two adults hospitalised in critical condition have also yet to be identified.

"A day has passed since the tragedy, and it is clear that the pain is even sharper. As the shock fades, the losses become even more excruciating. The long and more painful process, like the identification of the bodies, is about to begin," said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Most of the passengers were students from a Budapest school returning from a ski trip in France.

Four passengers remained hospitalised with serious injuries. Mr Szijjarto said one of the unidentified adults in critical condition suffered third-degree burns on 60pc of his body, while the other person had surgery for a serious head injury.

"The bus was practically fully destroyed by the pillar of the highway overpass," Mr Szijjarto said.

"For now, we can't responsibly say how exactly the bus got there."

Judit Timaffy, the Hungarian consul in Milan, said Mr Vigh was a hero. "He didn't succeed in saving the son and daughter," the consul said. The teacher's wife was aboard and "she saw her daughter die. She didn't see her son at all, but unfortunately he was among the deceased".

The son has been identified as Balazs Vigh, a former ice hockey goalkeeper for Ferencvarosi TC in Budapest.

Irish Independent

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