A bus carrying German senior citizens on vacation crashed into a truck today on a highway in Bavaria and burst into flames, killing 18 people and injuring 30 others, some seriously, officials said.
The accident took place around 7 am when the bus rear- ended a trailer-truck at the end of a traffic jam on the A9 highway near Muenchberg, not far from the Czech border. The accident led to long traffic jams on the A9, the main thoroughfare from Berlin to Munich.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, but prosecutors have opened an investigation.
The bus seemed to have caught fire immediately upon impact with the truck, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt told reporters after touring the crash site. The truck’s trailer also burst into flames.
“Two people are still in life-threatening condition,” Dobrint said.
Two drivers and 46 passengers were on the bus. The remains of all bodies were recovered from the bus, including that of the driver at the wheel during the crash, police said.
Police said the truck driver was not injured.
Some 200 emergency crews rushed to the scene and five helicopters whisked the injured to nearby hospitals. Simple wooden coffins were wheeled in for the remains recovered from the blackened, twisted wreckage of the bus.
Police said the ages of those on the bus ranged from 41 to 81 and they were primarily from the eastern German state of Saxony. The news agency dpa reported that all the passengers were German.