Passenger killed as bus carrying Ukrainian refugees overturns in Italy

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Ukraine, Italy, Europe

A bus carrying Ukrainian refugees overturned on a major highway in northern Italy at dawn on Sunday, killing a young mother, firefighters said.

Italian state TV said five people were also injured in the crash on the A14 highway near Forli, a town in the Emilia-Romagna region in northeastern Italy. None of the injuries were said to be serious.

The rest of those on board were safely evacuated, it added.

The bus landed on its side on a grassy slope just beyond a highway guardrail and near a farm field. Firefighters used two cranes to set the vehicle upright and remove it.

The cause of the crash was under investigation. Highway Police official Andrea Biagioli said there were no skid marks.

“It could have been (the driver) suddenly falling asleep,” Mr Biagioli told state TV, stressing that no cause had yet been determined.

Italy’s Interior Ministry said the bus had set out from Ukraine and was heading south to Pescara, an Adriatic port city, when it overturned.

The passengers were taken to a nearby police barracks for initial assistance, and would later resume their journey, the ministry said.

The victim was a 32-year-old woman whose two children, aged five and 10, suffered bruising in the crash, the Italian news agency LaPresse said. Milan daily Corriere della Sera said the woman was crushed under the bus.

Earlier, firefighters had said there were about 50 refugees aboard the bus. But Corriere della Sera said that only 22 refugees had been on the bus that flipped on its side, while others had been on a second bus that was not involved in the crash.

The children were taken to a hospital where they were receiving psychological as well as medical assistance, LaPresse said.

The bus had been on the road for about 20 hours when it overturned, and had set out from western Ukraine, LaPresse added.

Some 35,000 Ukrainian refugees who fled war in their homeland have entered Italy, most of them through its northeastern border with Slovenia.

The Emilia-Romagna region borders the Adriatic Sea.

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