“AUpon learning of the news of the serious road accident that occurred in Mestre, in which countless people, including children, lost their lives, the Holy Father Francis instructs His Excellency to send the expression of his affectionate closeness to the families of those who died in this tragic way”, he stated the Holy See, in a statement.
The pontiff assured that he had addressed a “special prayer” to those affected by the accident, he indicated in a telegram signed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolín, and addressed to Bishop Francesco Moraglia, Patriarch of Venice.
“Although it involves the consolation of faith for his family, he asks the Lord for the prompt healing of the injured and heartily sends the patron saint’s apostolic blessing,” the note added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE) clarified today that there is no record of injuries of Portuguese nationality in the accident, which caused 21 deaths, two of which were Portuguese.
On Wednesday night, an MNE source had said that two Portuguese people had died and another national citizen had suffered injuries in the bus accident.
In information sent to Lusa, the ministry however indicated that the Italian authorities officially confirmed the death of two Portuguese people, and did not report any injuries of Portuguese nationality.
The MNE stated that it is monitoring the situation, through the Portuguese Embassy in Rome, and is already in contact with the relatives of the couple who died.
The mayor of Venice announced late Wednesday afternoon, according to the Italian media, the nationality of all the victims of the bus accident: nine Ukrainians, four Romanians, three Germans, two Portuguese, one Italian (the driver), a Croatian, and a South African.
The bus involved in the accident fell from an overpass on a road towards Venice.
The investigations analyze two main hypotheses about the causes of the tragedy: a risky maneuver or that the viaduct fence was too old to support the weight of the electric bus, combined with the possibility that the driver did not feel well and did not control the vehicle.
The Italian media highlighted today that the protective fence had not been replaced for a long time and that there were also around two meters of barrier missing in the area where the bus fell from a height of 15 meters.
However, the councilor for Mobility of Venice, Renato Boraso, explained that the lack of 1.5 meters in the barrier is an access point for safety reasons, for maintenance work.
“It’s not that one and a half meters prevents the fall,” said Boraso, guaranteeing that the bus fell “25 meters later”.
The Italian Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Matteo Salvini, assured that the accident was not the fault of the fence and warned of what he considered to be the danger of electric car batteries, as is the case with the damaged bus, because they “catch fire faster than than other forms of energy.”
Two Spaniards are among the 15 injured in the road accident and are a man, who is hospitalized in Treviso, and a 52-year-old woman, who was admitted to the hospital in Padua with serious burns.
The director of the University Hospital of Padua, Giuseppe Dal Ben, explained that a 4-year-old Ukrainian girl and a 52-year-old Spanish girl are admitted to his center “in a very serious condition”.
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