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

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs