UK
29/07/2013 07:51 BST | Updated 29/07/2013 16:43 BST

Italy Coach Crash Kills 38 As Bus Carrying Families Plunges Into Ravine Near Avellino (GRAPHIC WARNING)

A coach out-of-control on an Italian flyover has plunged into a ravine, leaving at least 39 people dead.

The coach smashed into other vehicles, through safety barrier and down into steep 30-metre drop near the town of Avellino, in the Campania region.

The coach is believed to have been carrying about 50 people, including children, back to Naples following a trip to religious shrines.

italy crash

Rescuers walk among damaged cars on the road off which a bus crashed

One family of four is believed to have walked away from the wreckage unharmed, Italian media reported.

AFP reported that the number of victims could not yet be confirmed. "We are still pulling people from the vehicle," a policeman told the news agency.

italy bus

The coach is believed to have been carrying about 50 people

Eleven people, including three children, were injured and taken to nearby hospitals, the Ansa news agency reported. Two were reported to be in critical condition

The coach had been travelling at high speed when it crashed on the busy dual carriageway. Witnesses speculated that the coach may have had brake problems or a tyre blowout.

Some of those in the seven or eight cars hit by the bus are also thought to have been injured.

Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed his sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives: “On behalf of the British Government, I express my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all of those who lost their lives in yesterday’s tragic coach crash.

“Our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.”