After the serious bus accident in Venice with 21 fatalities, the search for the background to the accident continues. The cause is still suspected to be the Italian bus driver’s attack of weakness. However, the devastating incident has also sparked a debate in Italy about the country’s dilapidated infrastructure. The main focus now is on the safety of guardrails on roads and highways.

The devastating accident occurred on Tuesday evening in the mainland district of Mestre in the lagoon city of Venice. The shuttle bus from a campsite in the Marghera district – around three kilometers from the scene of the accident – with many day holidaymakers on board fell from a bridge onto a railway line underneath. The vehicle immediately caught fire.

Three Germans among the fatalities

According to the Italian authorities and the Foreign Office in Berlin, three of the 21 fatalities are said to be German nationals. “Another five German citizens were injured and are receiving medical treatment,” the Foreign Office said late on Thursday afternoon. “The German Consulate General in Milan and the German Embassy in Rome are in close contact with the relatives and the local authorities.”

Two days after the accident, investigators were working hard on Thursday to understand the background to the accident, Venice public prosecutor Bruno Cherchi told the newspaper La Repubblica. The bus slid about 50 meters along the rusted guardrail before it fell. The bus is said to have drifted at an almost two meter long gap between the guardrails and hit the beginning of the new guardrail and then fell.

Fell ten meters down

According to an initial reconstruction, the bus fell almost ten meters and fell flat on its roof. If the impact had occurred on one side, there would not have been so many victims and serious injuries, Italian media quoted a fireman on site as saying. The bus was originally three meters high – the impact crushed it to around 1.40 meters. The wreckage of the bus is now stored in a disused warehouse.

According to La Repubblica, no maintenance work has been carried out on the railing since the 1960s. In addition to the almost two meter long gap, experts also criticize the condition of the existing guardrail. The guard rail was too thin and low. Even behind the guardrail and the gap there was only a rusty railing that could not withstand the weight of the bus, as can be seen in the pictures.