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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs