A bus plummeted 15 meters from an elevated road in Venice, killing 21 people in a fiery crash

by Ryan Lee
Tragic Bus Crash in Venice

A bus transporting numerous individuals fell 50 feet (15 meters) from an elevated thoroughfare in Venice, Italy, resulting in a catastrophic fire that led to the death of 21 passengers and left a minimum of 15 injured. These were primarily international tourists en route back to a neighboring campsite.

Among the deceased in the tragic incident that took place on a Tuesday evening were at least five Ukrainian citizens, a German national, and the bus driver, as confirmed by the Venice prefecture office.

Michele Di Bari, the Venice prefect, disclosed that a minimum of two fatalities were minors and added that a significant portion of those affected by the tragedy were young. Nine individuals are in critical medical condition as of Wednesday morning, including a three-year-old Ukrainian girl, according to healthcare authorities.

Emergency response teams labored until the early hours of Wednesday morning to remove the debris. Subsequently, vehicular movement cautiously resumed past the location where the bus had shattered a guardrail and a corroded fence.

Onlookers paused to reflect on the calamity. Some local residents mentioned that the overpass was constructed over six decades ago, and nothing of this sort had previously occurred there. Another individual, donned in a motorcycle jacket, halted his bike to fasten a bouquet of synthetic flowers to a post.

The bus was ferrying tourists from the Piazzale Roma in Venice to the Hu campground on the ill-fated Tuesday evening. It was on an elevated road adjacent to train tracks in the Mestre district when it descended and caught fire. Tourists often opt for lodging in districts located across the lagoon from Venice’s renowned historical center due to more affordable rates.

Local officials indicated that the injured, five of whom are in serious condition, comprise French, Spanish, Austrian, and Croatian nationals. The Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed that two Spanish citizens were among the injured and are currently hospitalized but in stable condition.

The cause of the incident remains indeterminate. Renato Boraso, a Venice city councilor, noted that the driver, identified as Alberto Rizzotto, was seasoned. An inquiry is underway to ascertain whether he suffered from a medical condition at the time.

Rescue personnel pointed out that the bus’s electric nature intensified the blaze and complicated the rescue process.

A local resident, Godstime Erheneden, described his immediate response upon hearing the collision. He was one of the first to enter the wrecked bus and assisted in the rescue of a man and a woman. He recalled the traumatic experience of retrieving a toddler from the bus, likening it to holding his own young son.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro described the scene as “apocalyptic” on social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, and declared an official period of mourning.

This incident echoes past tragedies involving buses in Italy, including an accident near Verona in 2017 that resulted in 16 deaths among Hungarian students, and another in 2013 near Avellino, which claimed 40 lives in one of the country’s most devastating vehicular accidents.

This report includes contributions from AP journalist Giada Zampano in Rome.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Venice bus accident

What happened in the Venice bus accident?

A bus carrying numerous passengers fell 50 feet from an elevated road in Venice, Italy. The fall resulted in a devastating fire, causing 21 fatalities and injuring at least 15 people, most of whom were international tourists.

Who were the victims of this tragic accident?

The victims were primarily international tourists, including at least five Ukrainians, one German citizen, and the driver of the bus. At least two of the deceased were children, and nine of the injured are in critical condition.

Where did the accident occur?

The accident took place on an elevated road next to railway tracks in the Mestre district of Venice. The bus was en route from Venice’s Piazzale Roma to the Hu campground at the time of the incident.

What time did the accident happen?

The accident occurred on a Tuesday evening. Exact timing has not been disclosed.

What are the authorities doing in response?

Venice city officials and local prosecutors are currently investigating the cause of the accident. Emergency services worked throughout the early hours of Wednesday to clear the wreckage. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has declared a state of mourning.

Were there any past incidents similar to this one on the same road?

Local residents have mentioned that the overpass where the accident occurred is over 60 years old, but there have been no similar incidents reported on this structure in the past.

What complications did rescuers face?

The electric nature of the bus contributed to the intensity of the fire, complicating rescue operations.

What was the condition of the injured?

Of the at least 15 injured, nine are in critical condition, including a three-year-old Ukrainian girl. The injured also include nationals from France, Spain, Austria, and Croatia.

How has the international community responded?

The Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed that two of its citizens were injured and are in stable condition. Other nations have not yet issued official statements.

Are there any eyewitness accounts?

Yes, a local resident named Godstime Erheneden was one of the first people to enter the bus after the accident. He helped in the rescue of at least two adults and a child, and described the scene as “terrible.”

What are the next steps in the investigation?

The investigation is ongoing. Authorities are looking into whether the driver, who was experienced, may have been ill or if there were any other contributing factors to the accident.

More about Venice bus accident

  • Venice Bus Accident: Full Story
  • Venice Prefecture Office Statements on Accident
  • Emergency Response in Venice: An Overview
  • Recent Road Accidents in Italy: A Comparative Analysis
  • Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro’s Statement on Social Media
  • Eyewitness Accounts: Interviews and Statements
  • Spanish Foreign Ministry’s Press Release on Injured Citizens
  • Hospital Officials Update on Injured Passengers
  • Traffic and Infrastructure Safety Measures in Venice
  • Investigation Procedures for Vehicular Accidents in Italy

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GlobalCitizen October 4, 2023 - 1:31 pm

it’s shocking to hear that so many international tourists were caught in this. Traveling already comes with risks, but no one expects something like this.

NewsJunkie October 4, 2023 - 2:19 pm

Keeping an eye on updates. Hope they find out what caused this soon. Everyones looking for answers.

FactChecker October 4, 2023 - 9:56 pm

Is it true the bus was electric? I read somewhere that it made the fire worse, is this confirmed?

LocalVenetian October 4, 2023 - 11:18 pm

Been living in Venice my entire life, never heard of something like this happening here. So saddened and shocked.

TravelSafe101 October 5, 2023 - 12:46 am

Oh god, this is terrible. A reminder to all of us to be cautious when traveling. My thoughts are with all the victims families.

RoadSafetyActivist October 5, 2023 - 1:33 am

Tragic accidents like this just highlight the need for more stringent safety checks. Infrastructure shouldn’t fail ppl like this!

JohnDoe123 October 5, 2023 - 1:49 am

Wow, this is heartbreaking. Can’t believe so many people lost their lives. What’s happening with the investigation? Any updates?

EcoWarrior October 5, 2023 - 7:37 am

if the electric nature of the bus did contribute to the fire, it raises questions about the safety of electric vehicles in general.

ConcernedMom October 5, 2023 - 8:09 am

Those poor kids. As a mom, my heart aches for the families.

Curious_George October 5, 2023 - 10:22 am

does anyone know if they’re reviewing safety measures for elevated roads after this? seems like its high time they did.


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