Rome — According to Italian firefighters and news reports, a bus carrying Ukrainian refugees overturned on a major highway in northern Italy at dawn Sunday, killing a young mother.
According to Italian state television, five people were injured, but no one was seriously injured in a crash on the A14 highway near Forli, a town in the Emilia-Romagna region of northeastern Italy. The rest of the people on board were evacuated safely.
The bus landed sideways over a highway guardrail on a grassy slope near the farmland. Firefighters used two cranes to erect the bus, help the survivors get off the bus, and then remove the bus.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. Highway police official Andrea Biagioli said there were no skid marks.
“(The driver) may have fallen asleep suddenly,” Biazioli told state television, stressing that the cause has not yet been identified.
The Italian Ministry of Home Affairs said the bus departed from Ukraine and headed south towards Pescara, the port city of the Adriatic Sea, when the bus overturned. According to the ministry, passengers will be taken to a nearby police barracks for initial assistance and will resume their journey later.
According to the Italian news agency La Presse, the victim was a 32-year-old woman whose two children, 5 and 10 years old, were bruised in a crash. The daily Corriere della Serra in Milan said the woman was crushed under the bus.
Earlier, firefighters said there were about 50 refugees on the bus. However, Corriere della Serra said that only 22 refugees were on the overturned bus, while the other refugees were on the second bus, which was not involved in the crash.
According to Lapresse, the children were taken to a hospital where they received psychological and medical support.
According to Lapresse, the bus was on the road for about 20 hours when it capsized and departed from western Ukraine.
About 35,000 Ukrainian refugees who fled after Russia began the war in their hometown entered Italy, most of them through the northeastern border with Slovenia.
Forli’is located in the Emilia-Romagna region, adjacent to the Adriatic Sea.