UP TO 18 people are feared dead in one of Germany’s worst road accidents after a tour bus carrying pensioners burst into flames in a collision with a trailer truck.
“Thirty passengers were taken to hospitals, some with serious injuries. The others are believed to have died in the burning tour bus,” which had been carrying 48 people, police said in a statement.
The bus carrying 46 passengers and two drivers rammed into the trailer in a traffic jam on the A9 motorway close to the Bavarian town of Stammbach.
The crash shortly after 7 am (6am Irish time) sent the bus up in flames, with television images showing only the charred skeleton of the vehicle remaining.
The bus was carrying a tour group from eastern Germany’s Saxony state, police said, and it was bound for Nuremberg, according to Bild newspaper.
Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced “great dismay” over the crash, with her spokesman saying:
Our thoughts and condolences go to the victims and their family members, as well as to the injured. We hope that those who have been rescued will recover from their injuries.
Thirty people were injured in the crash, which occurred shortly after 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) near the town of Stammbach, around 90 km (56 miles) northeast of Nuremberg, police said. Some were seriously injured.
“It’s clear now that all 18 of the missing people on the bus died in the accident,” police said on Twitter.
There were 48 people, mainly from the eastern state of Saxony, on the bus and they were aged between 41 and 81, police said.
Speaking at the scene of the crash, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said two people were in a critical condition, he said.
“The heat’s development must have been intense because there is nothing flammable left on the bus. Only steel parts are recognizable so you can understand what that meant for the people in this bus,” he said.