A bus filled with tourists in Venice careened through an overpass guardrail, crashed near train tracks and exploded on Tuesday evening, killing at least 21 people on board and wounding more than a dozen more.
“It’s an apocalyptic scene,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro of Venice told reporters. He also declared a day of mourning.
The crash occurred in Mestre, the mainland section of Venice, and rescue workers were still trying to recover survivors and bodies from the wreckage late Tuesday night. At least 12 people were injured and sent to a hospital, according to the mayor’s office.
Venice officials said the bus was full of tourists, and that two minors were among the dead.
The victims included several Ukrainians and other foreigners who were staying at a local camping village, according to Venice officials. Based on recovered passports, officials said, some of the victims appear to have been German, and Venice officials said the driver appeared to have been Italian.
Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, said on Italian television that “the fire that exploded rather quickly” when the bus fell near the tracks had aggravated the tragedy, and that “there could be” more bodies in the flames.
Michele di Bari, the prefect of Venice, who was at the scene, said the bus had dropped dozens of meters through the air “and is completely crushed on itself.”
“There’s a lot of bodies,” he said, adding that the last he saw removed was that of the driver.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni conveyed her “deep condolences,” and President Sergio Mattarella also expressed his grief for the tragedy.