Investigation Underway for Fatal Bus Crash Near Venice


Venice, Italy - Italian authorities are diligently probing the circumstances surrounding a devastating bus crash near Venice, which claimed the lives of at least 21 individuals, including two children.

A spokesperson for the Italian fire brigade informed CNN that as of Wednesday, the cause of the tragic incident in Mestre on Tuesday remains unknown, with witnesses describing the aftermath as an "apocalyptic scene."

The 40-year-old bus driver, identified as Alberto Rizzotto, was among the casualties, as reported by RAI, with an additional 18 individuals sustaining injuries.

Concerns have emerged regarding the possibility of the bus's battery exacerbating the fire's rapid spread due to overheating, according to Italy’s fire services. Provincial fire brigade commander, Mauro Lungo, stated that batteries face "critical issues" when overheated, as reported by CNN affiliate Sky TG24 on Wednesday.

Lungo further noted that apprehensions about the battery hampered rescue efforts on Tuesday. Simultaneously, the Venice public prosecutor's office has initiated an inquiry into the incident.

Representatives from the prosecutor's office informed CNN that the head prosecutor for the Venice municipality, Bruno Cherchi, is overseeing the investigation into the Mestre tragedy. Investigators are currently reviewing recently acquired footage to ascertain if any other vehicles were involved or if the driver suffered a health-related issue.

The ill-fated bus was en route from Venice to nearby Marghera and was carrying a load of passengers returning home from work, according to Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who conveyed this information to state media RAI.

"It completely went off the road, it flew off the bridge. It was a bus; it was a highway. We are in mourning," he lamented. Brugnaro described the scene as "apocalyptic" in a Facebook post.

The accident transpired on an overpass connecting Mestre to Marghera and the A4 motorway, as detailed by Italian media outlet skytg24. The bus inexplicably breached a wall of the overpass, plummeting between a warehouse and the tracks of the Mestre station below.

On Wednesday morning, the Italian Senate, the upper house of the parliament, observed a minute of silence to honor the victims of the tragedy, as relayed by X.

The President and Prime Minister of Italy, along with leaders from around the world, extended their heartfelt condolences in the aftermath of the calamity.

"I express my personal and the Government’s deepest condolences for the serious accident that occurred in Mestre. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their family and friends," Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni conveyed.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his solidarity, stating, "thoughts this evening are with the Italian people, with the families and loved ones of the victims of the terrible tragedy in Venice," on X.

President of the European Council, Charles Michel, shared his sorrow, writing, "I am deeply saddened by the terrible accident of a bus in Mestre this evening. I offer my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims at this sad time. I’m close to you," also on X.