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. 

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs