More than 20 people were killed and nearly as many were injured in a terrible bus crash in Venice, Italy, Tuesday night, according to Fox News.
Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro described the horrific scene as "apocalyptic" after surveying the site where a bus carrying tourists had veered off an overpass bridge and caught fire after smashing into the ground near railroad tracks below.
The deadly incident occurred Tuesday evening in the Mestre suburb of Venice when a tour bus, for reasons that have not yet been made clear, crashed through a guardrail and fence and plunged to the ground below in a fiery wreck.
Mayor Brugnaro posted a picture of the smoking wreckage taken from the vantage point of the bridge overhead and shared it on social media.
His translated caption read: "A huge tragedy struck our community this evening. I immediately ordered the city to mourn, in memory of the numerous victims who were on the fallen bus."
The mayor added, "An apocalyptic scene, there are no words."
Un’immane tragedia ha colpito questa sera la nostra comunità.
Ho disposto da subito il lutto cittadino, in memoria delle numerose vittime che erano nell’autobus caduto.
Una scena apocalittica, non ci sono parole. pic.twitter.com/APnsQoPMkL
— Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) October 3, 2023
According to Reuters, Italian authorities had confirmed as of Wednesday that 21 people had died, including several young children, while 15 others had been injured, some quite severely.
Aside from the Italian bus driver, everyone else on the bus was a tourist from outside Italy, and authorities identified the nationalities of the deceased as including nine Ukrainians, four Romanians, three Germans, two Portuguese, one Croatian, and one South African, plus the Italian bus driver.
Included among those who were injured were four Ukrainians, two Spaniards, two Austrians, a German, a Croatian, and an individual from France.
The incident, which involved a Chinese-manufactured all-electric bus used to shuttle tourists from a campsite to popular destinations in and around Venice, occurred on what is generally a heavily trafficked bridge with relatively few accidents, though it was acknowledged that the guardrails were old and outdated thin metal that needed to be replaced by more sturdy concrete barriers.
The ongoing investigation has focused on a video of the incident that showed the bus slowing down and nearly stopping before crashing through the guardrail and plunging more than 30 feet toward the railroad tracks that run beneath the overpass bridge.
Investigators are said to have some unspecified evidence that suggests that the bus driver may have "fallen ill" just prior to the crash, and it is hoped that video from inside the bus will be recovered and provide more insight into what, exactly, occurred.
As for the flames that engulfed the upside-down bus, it is suspected that the inferno was at least partially caused or worsened by the electric vehicle's batteries, which posed a particular risk for the firefighters who battled the blaze overnight and remained on-site Wednesday to monitor the smoldering wreckage and ensure there was not a secondary eruption of fire.