Bus crash claims 13 students
A bus carrying university exchange students back from Spain's largest fireworks festival crashed on Sunday on a main highway in the northeast, killing at least 13 passengers and injuring 34 others, officials said.
The passengers included Spaniards and foreign nationals from more than a dozen countries, authorities said. Initially, regional government spokesman Jordi Jane said 14 had died in the crash, but Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz later confirmed the death toll. He said 28 passengers received medical treatment in local hospitals and others received first aid at the crash site.
The bus, which was carrying 57 passengers, appeared to have hit a guardrail of the AP7 highway before cartwheeling across the road, slamming through a divider and landing on its side, said Jane, spokesman for Spain's northeastern Catalonia province.
The students, part of the Erasmus exchange programme, had travelled to the eastern city of Valencia to take part in the renowned Fallas fireworks festival and were returning when the bus crashed, Jane said. Most were studying at two universities in Barcelona. The crash took place near Freginals, halfway between Valencia and Barcelona.
Catalan regional government officials were "contacting consulates from Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Czech Republic, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Italy, Peru, Bulgaria, Poland, Ireland, Palestine, Japan and Ukraine," a statement said. The government declined to say if the consulates listed were linked to those killed or those who travelled in the buses. The bus that crashed was one of five that had travelled to the festival with students from Barcelona, the Catalan government said in a statement.
Television images from state broadcaster TVE showed the bus also crashed into an oncoming car on the opposite side of the highway. The passengers in the car were injured, the Catalan government said.