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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Italy’s PM visits victims of Bologna highway tanker truck explosion

Giuseppe Conte said it was important to understand what happened to prevent future tragedies.

The moment the truck transporting flammable substances exploded (Italian Police video via AP)
The moment the truck transporting flammable substances exploded (Italian Police video via AP)

By Colleen Barry, Associated Press

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has visited victims of the fiery crash of a tanker truck carrying highly flammable gas near Bologna.

He said it was important to understand what happened to prevent future tragedies. The truck’s driver was the only person killed.

“I am here today to demonstrate the closeness of the government to the people who are suffering, but also to understand why so that these things are not repeated,” said Mr Conte, who plans to travel later to the scene of another deadly crash in southern Italy.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the Bologna accident, triggered when the tanker truck carrying liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, rammed into a truck stuck in a line of traffic.

The tanker immediately caught fire, and then exploded a short time later across eight lanes, causing part of the raised highway to collapse.

Police video shows that by the time of the explosion, most vehicles had been evacuated from the highway.

Highway police said only the tanker driver died in the crash, revising earlier reports by the carabinieri that there were two dead.

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One person was killed in the explosion (Giorgio Benvenuti/ANSA via AP)

Dozens of people were injured, many with burns or cuts from flying glass when windows of buildings nearby were shattered in the blast.

The victim was identified as 41-year-old Andrea Anziolin of the northern city of Vicenza.

“Maybe it was a moment of distraction, or a wave of sleepiness,” Bologna prosecutor Giuseppe Amato told RAI radio. “But it is too early to say with certainty.”

Mr Conte will later travel to the southern region of Puglia, where a van packed with immigrant farmworkers overturned after colliding with a truck carrying tomatoes in the southern Puglia region, killing 12.

It was the second such fatal accident in the area in the space of three days.

Press Association

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