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Mass funeral for Italy bus victims

Source BBC News@

People mourn their loved ones amongst the coffins of some of the victims of Sunday's bus crash prior to the start of their funeral service, in Pozzuoli, near Naples, southern Italy, Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Relatives paid their respects by the victims' coffins before the service

A mass funeral is being held near the southern Italian town of Pozzuoli for the 38 victims of Sunday's bus crash.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta is among the dignitaries assembled for the event, taking place in a sports hall.

A choir sang solemnly as the bishop of Pozzuoli walked towards the altar at the start of the service.

The coach drove off a viaduct and into a ravine near Monteforte Irpino in the worst accident of its kind in Western Europe for a decade.

The congregation recited prayers led by the bishop, Monsignor Gennaro Pascarella.

Italy coach plunge leaves 38 dead

Before the ceremony, members of bereaved families wept and clutched the coffins, placing flowers, photographs and other memorabilia for their loved ones.

One coffin was adorned with a photo of the deceased's wedding day, and a scarf in the colours of the football team, Napoli.

Bodies identified

On Monday, hundreds of relatives had to identify the bodies of their loved ones at a school near the crash site which had been turned into a temporary morgue.

"They told me to look at all the bodies until I found my brother," said one man who gave his name as Ciro told the AFP news agency. "It was like a mountain had fallen on my head," he said.

Ten of the coach's passengers were hurt in the accident on Sunday. Nine people were also injured in cars hit by the bus before it careered off the road.

The BBC's Alan Johnston reports from beneath the flyover where the coach fell

Prosecutors have launched an investigation into possible manslaughter. Investigators will examine the role of the driver as well as the condition of the coach and the crash barriers on the road.

The vehicle was carrying a local tour group back from the birthplace of Padre Pio, an Italian priest canonised in 2002.

The accident was the worst of its kind in Western Europe for ten years. In October 2010, 45 people died in a road accident in Ukraine.


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