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Italy seeks clues in bus crash that killed 38

ROME -- Italian authorities were tackling the difficult job of identifying the dead Monday in the aftermath of a bus that plunged off a highway, leaving at least 38 dead and 10 injured.

The scene of the crash, an embankment 100 feet below an elevated highway east of Naples, was strewn with seats that were ejected after the bus crashed through a barricade and off the highway Sunday evening and broke into two pieces.

In a gymnasium in the nearby town of Monteforte Irpino, family members gathered at a makeshift morgue to identify victims. Many of them had only heard about the accident from television reports.

Investigators were scouring video from highway surveillance cameras and questioning witnesses. One survivor said a tire exploded. Brake failure was possible, as there were no skid marks at the scene.

Local media said the driver tried desperately to keep the bus under control in the moments before the accident, ramming several vehicles on the highway.

The driver then scraped the bus along a concrete wall, apparently in an attempt to stop it, before it broke through a barricade and fell into the ravine.

"The rescue work was very difficult because all that remained of the bus was a wreck, with the passengers trapped between the metal sheets," fire company commandant Alessio Barbarulo told the Ansa news agency. -- MCT

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