A bus carrying schoolchildren has crashed and burst into flames in Italy killing 16 people, mainly Hungarian teenagers.

The school students were returning home from a mountain holiday in France, when the bus crashed into the side of a highway near Verona.

Thirty-nine people survived but 10 of those are badly burned in hospital.

Police commander Girolamo Lacquaniti said the bus crashed and burst into flames just before midnight. 

Italian police reported that 16 people died in the bus crash as Hungarian students were reportedly returning to Budapest from a school trip from France

A firefighter sprays water on the burned hulk of a bus that crashed and burst into flames near Verona, northern Italy

Italian news agency Ansa said a number of pupils were thrown out of the vehicle when it collided with a pylon. 

No other vehicles were involved and it was not clear why the bus went off the road, crashing into the barriers.

The bus was returning to Budapest with students, mainly boys, ages 15 to 17.

Police say 16 badly burned bodies have been pulled from the wreckage.

In Budapest, the foreign ministry said official information was that there were 54 passengers, including adults accompanying the students, and two drivers aboard, but they believe the actual number was higher – for reasons yet to be determined. 

The bus burst into flames after crashing into a barrier at the side of the highway

The gutted remains of the bus that crashed and burst into flames near Verona

The school bus is pictured burnt out on the side of the road after the horrific accident

The bus was carrying around 50 passengers, most of whom were Hungarians aged between 16 and 18

‘One passenger is currently in an induced coma and in life-threatening condition,’ Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjarto told reporters in Budapest. 

According to Szijjarto, the bus driver lost control of the vehicle, which hit a guard rail and then the overpass support before catching fire.

Investigators have found no brake marks at the scene, he said.

RAI state radio said a Slovenian truck driver who was traveling behind the bus had noticed a problem with one of the bus wheels and tried to alert the driver. 

But the driver didn’t react quickly enough, RAI said. The truck driver stayed at the scene trying to help until investigators arrived, RAI said.

On Saturday morning friends and relatives of the schoolchildren arrived outside the Szinyei Merse Pal high school in Budapest. 

They placed flowers and candles outside the building.

People comfort each other in front of a school building in Budapest, Hungary, after the crash

People gather in front of the school where the children attended in Budapest 

Friends and relatives of those killed in the crash cry in front of the children’s school

People light candles in front of the school building in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto holds a news conference on the bus accident of Hungarian students

Candles and flowers are placed in a window of the Szinyei Merse Pal high school in Budapest on January 21, 2017, to commemorate victims of a bus accident in Italy

  

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