At least 21 people were dead Tuesday after a bus fell from an overpass near the Italian canal city of Venice and then caught fire after falling onto train tracks, local media reported.
Reports varied widely on the number of the injured, with estimates ranging between 12 and 40 people hurt. Among them, at least two were in critical condition and multiple others were seriously injured. Additionally, “several” others were reported as missing.
The death toll could still rise as the injured are treated in area hospitals, reports said.
Local media reported that a bus at or near capacity broke through the fence on the Vempa overpass in the Mestre area of Venice, falling around 10 meters into an empty area near some railroad tracks. The bus reportedly burst into flames on impact.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed “personal and the government’s deepest condolences” and said she was following developments closely.
Rome’s Quirinale Palace said Italian President Sergio Mattarella had telephoned Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro to express his sadness over the tragedy.
“A huge tragedy struck our community this evening,” Brugnaro said via social media, adding that he has called for an official mourning “in memory of the numerous victims on the fallen bus.” Brugnaro called it “an apocalyptic scene.”
The city of Venice said on social media that the Vempa overpass, where the tragedy took place, has been closed to traffic, and that police and firefighters were on the scene to search for survivors, help injured survivors and assess the situation.
No official source has reported the death toll, the number of injuries, or the causes of the accident.