Budapest, January 22 (MTI) – All but two of the survivors of a bus crash that took the lives of 16 Hungarians in Italy could return home by Sunday evening, Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog said at a press conference a little after noon.
The bus, which was transporting students and teachers of the Szinyei Merse Pál Secondary School in Budapest, as well as family members, hit the pillar of an overpass on the Venice-Verona motorway and caught fire just before midnight on Friday. The group was returning home from a ski trip.
Gábor Csató, the director of the National Ambulance Service, said four of the seriously injured passengers are returning to Hungary by air and two by ambulance.
He said 56 people were on the bus when it crashed: 43 students and thirteen adults, including the two bus drivers. Among the 16 dead are eleven students and five adults, he added.
The two people most seriously injured in the crash have still not been positively identified and are remaining in hospital in Italy, he said.
Csató said he had spoken with the injured and noted that most could not remember the accident.
Balog acknowledged the solidarity and assistance of local Hungarians and Italians after the accident, as well as the many National Ambulance Service staff who volunteered to help.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has declared Monday a national day of mourning for the victims of the accident.
Hungary’s National Police Headquarters (ORFK) said on Sunday that the National Investigation Office (NNI) had launched its own investigation into the accident on suspicion of negligence. The investigation will be independent of one by the Italian authorities. NNI investigators will scrutinise the records of the mechanical inspections of the bus and any earlier repairs as well as documentation on the health and fitness of the two bus drivers.
MTI’s correspondent in Italy told public television news broadcaster M1 on Sunday morning that local officials had determined an eyewitness account suggesting smoke was spewing out of the bus before the accident was unfounded.Photo: MTI Hungarian parents in Verona’s Hospital, photo: MTI
Commemoration in Budapest, 2nd dayBus crash tragedy in Italy, photo: MTI Bus crash tragedy in Italy, photo: MTI