World Europe 21 Mar 2016 Spain bus crash kill ...

Spain bus crash kills 13 exchange students, injures 34

PTI
Published Mar 21, 2016, 2:43 pm IST
Updated Mar 21, 2016, 2:58 pm IST
The bus, which was carrying 57 passengers, appeared to have hit a guardrail of the AP7 highway before cartwheeling across the road.
Emergency personnel stand as a crane rights a bus on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals, Amposta south of Tarragona following a fatal accident that claimed the lives of 13 foreign students an injured 44 others. (Photo: AFP)
 Emergency personnel stand as a crane rights a bus on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals, Amposta south of Tarragona following a fatal accident that claimed the lives of 13 foreign students an injured 44 others. (Photo: AFP)

Madrid: A bus carrying university exchange students back from Spain's largest fireworks festival crashed on Monday on a main highway in the northeast, killing at least 13 passengers and injuring 34 others, officials said.

The passengers included Spaniards and foreign nationals from around 20 countries, authorities said.

 

A Catalan regional government official says the 13 female students killed in a bus crash in northeastern Spain this weekend were all from other countries, including seven from Italy.

Interior department director Jordi Jane said Monday the other six included two Germans, an Austrian, a French woman, a Romanian and an Uzbekistani.

Jane told reporters the victims were aged between 19 and 25 years.

The bus, which was carrying 57 passengers, appeared to have hit a guardrail of the AP7 highway before cartwheeling across the road, slamming through a divider and landing on its side, said Jordi Jane, spokesman for Spain's northeastern Catalonia province.

 

The students, part of the Erasmus exchange programme, had travelled to the eastern city of Valencia to take part in the renowned Fallas fireworks festival and were returning when the bus crashed, Jane said. Most were studying at two universities in Barcelona.

The crash took place near Freginals, halfway between Valencia and Barcelona.

Initially, Jane said 14 had died in the crash, but Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz later confirmed the death toll was 13. He said 28 passengers received medical treatment in local hospitals and others received first aid at the crash site.

 

The regional government of Catalonia said in a statement in the early evening that "according to the latest data, the ill-fated bus had students from Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Italy, Peru, Bulgaria, Poland, Ireland, Japan, Ukraine, Holland, Belgium, France, Palestine, Turkey, Greece." It added that two countries, New Zealand and Finland, were still pending confirmation.

The statement said autopsies had been completed on nine of the 13 dead and a judge would release the bodies to families once full identification was complete in all cases.

 

Poland's Foreign Ministry said one Polish man was hospitalised after the bus crash and Swiss authorities said one young Swiss woman was injured, but had been discharged from a hospital.

The bus that crashed was one of five that had travelled to the festival with students from Barcelona, the Catalan government said in a statement.

Television images from state broadcaster TVE showed the bus also crashed into an oncoming car on the opposite side of the highway. The passengers in the car were injured, the Catalan government said.

The bus driver was being held at a police station in the city of Tortosa, Jane said. Road conditions were good at the time of the crash and investigators were looking into the cause of the tragedy, he said.

 

Fernandez Diaz said the driver passed alcohol and drug tests he was given.

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