Venice Bus Carrying Foreign Tourists Plunges off a Bridge and Catches Fire, Killing 21 People “After Driver Has Medical Episode”

Unsettling CCTV footage captured the tragic moment a tourist bus smashed through a guardrail and fell 30 feet off a bridge, killing 21 people, including children and foreign tourists, in a horrifying accident in Venice last night.

The coach’s 40-year-old Italian driver, Alberto Rizzotto, is thought to have experienced a “medical episode” that caused the electric vehicle to veer off the road, according to investigators.

The bus had practically stopped on the busy highway when, at around 7.45 p.m., it fell sideways off the overpass and landed on its roof on another road below, setting the coach’s batteries on fire.

By Wednesday morning, 19 bodies had been recovered from the debris, and two more patients had passed away in hospitals. A newborn and a 12-year-old were murdered, according to emergency services, according to Italian news agency ANSA. Up to 18 people may have been hurt, according to officials; five of them are in critical condition.

Thankfully, another newborn infant survived the collision, according to Italian media. He was reportedly recovered by firefighters, cradled in his parents’ arms. A 4-year-old girl is also said to have lived, despite having ‘severe’ burns.

To ascertain the cause of the collision, which the mayor of Venice has called a “huge tragedy,” investigators have already started watching footage from nearby traffic cameras that captured the accident as it happened.

According to officials, one theory under investigation is that Rizzotto experienced a “medical episode.” One official noted that the road was “straight and there were no bends,” and that video appeared to show the bus “drifting” towards the guardrail.

According to Venice police head Marco Agostini, the hypothesis of a medical episode is a possibility because there don’t appear to be any brake traces on the tarmac.

Bruno Cherchi, the chief prosecutor in Venice, said autopsies would be performed on the driver and the victims, as well as a thorough examination of the wreckage.

We now have no conclusive explanation, but there are a number of hypotheses, and by the end of the day, we hope to have one.

The bus may have been hit by “another vehicle,” which may have caused it to lose control before swerving away, according to media reports in Italy.

According to La Stampa, photos showing the deteriorated condition of the safety rail for the highway barrier have prompted further investigation.

The guardrail “appears to be of an old type and, in any case, totally unsuitable for guaranteeing safety on a dangerous stretch of road like that,” lamented criminal lawyer Domenico Musicco, who also runs a non-profit organisation that assists accident victims.

The guardrail “appears to be of an old type and, in any case, totally unsuitable for guaranteeing safety on a dangerous stretch of road like that,” lamented criminal lawyer Domenico Musicco, who also runs a non-profit organisation that assists accident victims.

‘Ten years after the Avellino tragedy,’ he said, ‘where forty people died on board a bus that crashed from the Acqualonga viaduct, we find ourselves once again mourning over twenty deaths due to old and inadequate protections.’

Officials stated that fatigue was unlikely to have been a factor because Rizzotto, whose body was among those pulled from the debris, had only recently begun his shift.

Firefighters reported that the bus caught fire after veering off a bridge spanning a railway and connecting Venice’s Mestre and Marghera neighbourhoods in northern Italy’s Venice.

The burned-out wreckage of the car was finally removed from the scene in the wee hours of Wednesday morning after emergency personnel spent hours removing the bodies and working all night on it.

The individuals in the bus saw themselves engulfed in flames, according to Mauro Luongo, leader of the Venice firefighters squad. We discovered a horrific situation. Some of the bodies had to be extracted, which took nearly an hour.

The bus’s electric batteries caught fire during the collision, the fire chief said, adding that it was unclear what caused the collision. Despite the Italian interior minister’s initial claim that the bus ran on methane, firefighters said that it was electric.

The boss of Rizzotto, a Conegliano native, described him as a “good” driver with five or six years of experience.

Massimo Fiorese, the CEO of La Linea, the company that owned and managed the bus, stated to Corriere Della Sera that Rizzotto “was a person with proven experience, very good, and a good person. “Since 2014, [Rizzotto] has been a part of our team.

According to the CCTV footage of the coach that was recorded prior to the accident, the vehicle was almost at a complete stop when it started to slow down and then fell off the bridge.

‘In the video, you can see that the bus is almost at a standstill, the guardrail is thin, it is not one of the most modern and structured ones, and the bus weighed a lot because it was an electric one. The impact was fatal,’ he said.

‘I think the driver had an illness, because otherwise I can’t explain it.’

Renato Boraso, a councillor for transport in Venice, revealed that a recent approval of a 6 million euro project to renovate the bridge and guardrail may have prevented the 13-ton vehicle from falling.

The nationality of all those killed has now been verified, Venice’s prefect, Michele Di Bari, the local representative of the interior ministry, said late on Wednesday.

They include nine Ukrainian citizens, four Romanians, three Germans, two Portuguese, one Croatian, one South African and the Italian bus driver, he told Italy’s public broadcaster Rai News.

The bus had been ferrying the tourists back to a campsite in nearby Marghera after a day out in Venice.

Blood donors were urgently needed as nearby hospitals entered “emergency mode.”With casualty departments free of patients, five hospitals in the area—in Mestre, Trevino, Dolo, Mirano, and Padova—have been placed on emergency footing.

One eyewitness, who gave his name as Leonardo, told Italian media: ‘I heard a strong braking; I thought it was a train. Then came the sound of the impact, a thud. I was alarmed, and looking out, I saw smoke and heard people screaming for help.

‘As I ran and reached where I could see the bus, the screams turned into a horrifying, deadly silence, which stopped my blood.’ 

He added, ‘I wanted to help, but I was blocked by a friend of mine and a policewoman because the bus was still on fire and at risk of explosion.

‘I then remained there until help arrived, which arrived after about twenty minutes.’

“The bus is completely wrecked.” According to Michele Di Bari, the prefect of Venice, “a lot of the bodies were difficult for the firefighters to remove.”

Forty ambulances were sent to the scene, and the railway line to Venice was temporarily closed before being reopened, but operator Trenitalia said services were subject to lengthy delays and cancellations. 

‘The bus is totally crushed. The firefighters had difficulty getting a lot of the bodies out,’ Venice’s prefect Michele Di Bari told Sky Italia television.

Bari, who was present, claimed to have observed the removal of the driver’s body from the collision.

In order to ensure that no additional passengers were trapped inside, rescuers were still working to clear the bus’s wreckage late on Tuesday night.

In a statement, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed her condolences and said that her government was thinking of “the victims, their families, and their friends.”

‘I am in contact with Mayor Luigi Brugnaro and Transport Minister Matteo Salvini in order to follow the news of this tragedy,’ she said in a statement.

Salvini was one of those who hypothesised that the driver may have become suddenly ill and caused the accident.

Interior minister Matteo Piantedosi had earlier said: ‘The bus has fallen 10 metres and caught fire and what worsened the situation was that it was biomethane powered.’ 

He said that gas was the “aggravating factor” and that the fire spread quickly. Later, officials acknowledged that the bus was electric and that the batteries on impact most certainly caught fire.According to Piantedosi, more bodies might have perished in the fire.

The bodies of the deceased were covered in white shrouds with bouquets of red flowers, and Francesso Moraglia, the Patriarch of Venice, was present when he blessed them.

Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Union, and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed their condolences.

The awful bus catastrophe left German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock “deeply saddened… In this night of grief, my thoughts are with the victims, their families, and their friends,” she said.

The German embassy in Rome is collaborating with the Italian government to determine whether German citizens are among the victims, according to a spokesperson for the German foreign ministry who spoke to AFP.

Onlookers watch in horror as the vehicle is seen engulfed in flames with enormous plumes of smoke rising into the air in a horrifying video posted on X.

It happens after a string of fatal bus collisions in Italy in recent years.

In 2017, an accident involving a bus carrying Hungarian students resulted in the deaths of 16, while a bus accident involving a bus that plunged off a viaduct in southern Italy in 2013 resulted in the deaths of 40.


Daily Mail

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