Photo Gallery: Dozens Killed In Italian Bus Crash

Foto: Gregorio Borgia/ AP/dpa

Accident in Italy Dozens Dead after Bus Plunges Off Bridge

A dramatic bus crash killed at least 39 in Italy on Sunday night. The bus was driving on a highway in the Campania region when it broke through a guard rail and plunged into the ravine below.

At least 39 people were killed when a tour bus plummeted into a ravine in Southern Italy  on Sunday night.

Rescuers reportedly braved difficult conditions to cut through the wreckage and extract victims after the vehicle fell some 30 meters (100 feet) into a wooded area following a traffic accident that sent it crashing into other cars before it went through a guard rail over a viaduct. The bus came to rest in an area that was hard to reach by emergency personnel.

At least 11 survivors were taken to hospital with injuries after the accident, which witnesses said happened after the bus came upon a traffic jam at high speed.

Local media reports said that up to 50 people had been on the tour bus, most of them Italians, when it crashed around 8:30 p.m. in the region of Campania, near the town of Monteforte Irpino in a rural area some (60 kilometers) 40 miles from Naples. The driver and a number of children were reportedly among those killed.

The cause of the dramatic accident remains unclear, but some witnesses reported the possibility that the bus had blown a tire or had brake trouble while traveling downhill on the highway.

There were also conflicting reports about where the bus had been traveling from. Initially, it was thought to have been coming from a religious pilgrimage site. Later, reports claimed the bus was returning from an ordinary tour in the region.

kla -- with wire reports