More than 20 people have been killed and 18 injured after a bus carrying foreign tourists crashed off an elevated overpass, plunged some 15 meters (50 feet) and caught fire near Venice in northern Italy, officials said.
The bus veered off the road on Tuesday evening at approximately 7:45 p.m. local time (17:45 GMT), crashed through a barrier, plummeted onto electricity lines and caught fire, according to reports.
The bus is thought to have been rented to take tourists between Venice and a campsite in the nearby Marghera district.
Official mourning has been declared in Venice in memory of the victims, the mayor said.
What caused the horrific accident was unclear.
Venice City Councillor Renato Boraso said the bus had been carrying 40 passengers, 21 of whom had died and 18 were injured.
Boraso warned that the death toll could rise as several of those hurt in the crash were in critical condition in hospitals.
Five of the victims were Ukrainians and one was German, said Venice’s prefect, Michele Di Bari, the local representative of the interior ministry. The bus was also carrying passengers from France and Croatia, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
A reception point staffed by psychologists and psychiatrists has been set up at a nearby hospital to provide support for the victims’ families.
Late on Tuesday evening, rescuers were still struggling to remove the wreckage of the bus to make sure no more passengers were trapped inside.
The Veneto region governor, Luca Zaia, told RAI state television that the cause of the accident was still unclear.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed her condolences, saying in a statement that her government’s thoughts were with “the victims, their families and their friends”.
More than 20 ambulances “were used and the Treviso air ambulance was also called to the scene,” he said, adding that the injured were taken to hospitals in “Mestre, Mirano, Padua and Treviso.
Italy has suffered several deadly bus crashes in recent years.
In 2017, 16 people on board a bus carrying Hungarian students died in an accident near the northern city of Verona, while 40 people died in 2013 when a bus plunged off a viaduct in southern Italy.
In 2013, 38 people were killed after a coach lost control of a viaduct near the southern Italian town of Monteforte Irpino, hitting several other cars before falling into a ravine.

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