News / Europe

Major Accidents Make for 'Tragic Summer' in Europe

A damaged bus coach is seen after a crash near the southern town of Avellino, Italy, July 29, 2013.
A damaged bus coach is seen after a crash near the southern town of Avellino, Italy, July 29, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
Dozens of people have been killed in a road accident in southern Italy after a bus plunged off a highway. The Italian accident comes only days after one of the worst train wrecks in Spain’s history killed more than 70 people.

In Italy on Monday, relatives of those killed in the bus accident gathered at a local school. Its gym has been converted into a makeshift morgue.

Nearly 40 people, including the bus's driver, were killed in the accident Sunday night, and about 10 people were injured.

Disturbing tragedy

Antonio De Stefano is mayor of Monteforte Irpino, a town near where the accident happened. He said there has been a major rescue effort. He said he saw what the doctors and firefighters had to do to free the bodies. And he saw the doctors with their jackets covered in blood and it was something very striking.

The bus appears to have been carrying a group of Italian holidaymakers who had spent the weekend at nearby hot springs. The bus lost control and plowed through several cars before veering off the highway and into a ravine. It’s not yet clear why the driver lost control.

Eyewitnesses have been giving their own account.  

One man said he saw out of the corner of his eye a car rolling around, adding that there was a sudden, strong blow and he was hurled as well.

The road accident has been described as one of the worst in Italy’s history and follows the deadly train accident in Spain last Wednesday.

On Sunday evening the train driver, who survived the crash, was charged with reckless homicide and released on bail. He is suspected of speeding through a tight high-risk curve. The train, which was carrying more than 200 passengers, tumbled off the tracks and into a concrete wall.

Funeral Mass

Seventy-nine people were killed, including nine foreigners, and dozens more were hospitalized.

Spain’s royal family and the country’s prime minister were to join a large funeral Mass on Monday in Santiago de Compostela, the Catholic pilgrimage site where the crash took place.

On Monday, people in the town said they were happy the driver had been charged.

Manuel Maya, a tourist from Barcelona, said, "I think the decision is correct. I read in the newspapers today that the train driver declared he thought he was on another stretch of the track. A professional like this man, with the hours he has working as a train driver, I don't think he could make such a mistake."

Earlier this month six people were killed in a French train accident, when a train derailed just outside of Paris.

On Monday, the European Union's transport commissioner, Siim Kallas, said that so far it has been a “tragic summer" in Europe.

  • A passenger train passes by a wrecked train engine at the site of the train crash in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 26, 2013. 
  • Luis Verde Remeseiro, director of the Hospital Clinico de Santiago de Compostela, talks to journalists in front of the hospital in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 26, 2013. 
  • Rail workers clear the tracks next to a wrecked train engine at the site of the train crash in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 26, 2013. 
  • A passenger train passes by a wrecked train engine at the site of the train crash in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 26, 2013. 
  • A crane removes a carriage from the tracks at the site of a train crash near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 25, 2013. 
  • A relative of one of the victims of the train crash reacts in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 25, 2013. 
  • Victims receive help after a train crashed near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24, 2013. 
  • Rescue workers pull victims from a train crash near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24, 2013. 
  • Emergency personnel respond to a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Emergency personnel treat survivors after a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Emergency personnel respond to a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Emergency personnel at the scene of a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Rescue workers pull victims from a train crash near Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Rescue workers and officials are seen amongst the wreckage of the train crash near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, early July 25, 2013. 
  • Relatives of the victims involved in the train accident react at a victims' information point in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 25, 2013. 

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by: michael from: colorado
July 30, 2013 5:20 AM
As a long-time professional driver I believe this is part of a sort of mental disease that has spread throughout the world, the insane practice of driving vehicles at unsafe speeds simply for the sake of driving fast, for the macho thrill of this puerile deadly behavior. The craziness is encouraged constantly by advertising, cinema and pop culture, where cool people always drive real fast without the slightest clue as to why. Sometimes, we don't just tolerate stupidity, we celebrate it, and this is the case with driving too fast, a truly deadly behavior that needs to be treated much, much more harshly than it is.

by: RalphL from: WI
July 29, 2013 8:57 PM
France, Spain, now Swiss train!!!! This is disturbing or not? The TGV or fast train is build to go fast and to be able to hit brakes normally. Now we are seen a trend of new train accidents in Europe, not in China nor Japan who are countries with even faster TGV. Hmmm I have my suspicions, I want to suspect a new form of attack, a terror mini group can carry this type of attacks anywhere because of their mobility.... I am suspicious but who am I huh?

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