An investigation into the causes of a deadly bus crash near Venice has not yet been completed, but Italian authorities are focusing on questions including a roughly 2-meter (6.6-foot) missing section of guardrail near where the vehicle plunged off a bridge.
(Bloomberg) — An investigation into the causes of a deadly bus crash near Venice has not yet been completed, but Italian authorities are focusing on questions including a roughly 2-meter (6.6-foot) missing section of guardrail near where the vehicle plunged off a bridge.
A gap in a protective guardrail may have contributed to an accident that killed 21 people earlier this week, raising new questions over the country’s aging infrastructure.
Renato Boraso, a city official responsible for mobility, described the opening in the railing along the bridge as “an access gap for maintenance,” according to daily la Repubblica. The overall guardrail is compliant with regulations, he said, though it is old and due for renovation.
A tourist bus with passengers including a group of visitors from Ukraine and several other countries caught fire after falling from the overpass near the Mestre railway station on the mainland across from Venice late Tuesday. Two children were among the dead.
For reasons that remain to be clarified the bus slid along the guardrail for several meters and then crashed into a second protective barrier before plummeting about 10 meters, possibly through the gap.
The bus driver may have suffered the onset of a sudden health problem that led to the accident, regional Governor Luca Zaia has said on Facebook.
The tragedy has again shined the spotlight on Italy’s outdated infrastructure, which has drawn scrutiny ever since the 2018 Morandi bridge collapse in Genoa. Safety checks in the wake of that accident have led to a series of temporary closures and emergency works on bridges and tunnels across the country.
Venice, which attracts millions of visitors from around the world, has seen a tourist boom in 2023, with about 2.5 million visitors in the first quarter of the year. The city recently approved a daily entrance fee in a bid to regulate the flow of tourists and to protect its ecosystem and cultural heritage.
(Updates with details throughout)
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