Bus careens off highway in central Spain, killing 9 and injuring at least 15

MADRID (AFP) - A bus careened off a central Spanish highway and smashed into a safety barrier Monday, killing nine people and injuring at least 15, emergency services said.

The regional bus run by a private company, Cevesa, ended up nearly on one side, a buckled safety barrier preventing it from sliding further down a slope alongside the road.

"We confirm nine dead, five seriously injured and more than 10 slightly injured in the bus crash," said an emergency services spokesman for the region of Castile and Leon.

The crash had trapped passengers inside the bus, emergency services said.

Windows on the side facing the slope had been shattered, first photographs in the Spanish online media showed.

Four bodies lay on the N-403 road, completely covered in white sheets or shiny gold and silver foil.

Emergency services workers in black helmets and tunics carried one person away in a stretcher and several other people, apparently shocked passengers, sat on the kerb nearby.

The blue-coloured bus runs between the town of Serranillos in the south of the province of Avila and the regional capital of Avila.