MUNICH • Eighteen people were killed yesterday in one of Germany's worst road accidents after a tour bus carrying pensioners burst into flames in a collision with a trailer truck, police said.
"Thirty passengers were taken to hospitals, some with serious injuries. The others are believed to have died in the burning tour bus," police said in a statement.
The bus, which was carrying 46 passengers and two drivers, rammed into the trailer in a traffic jam on the motorway A9, close to the Bavarian town of Stammbach.
The crash shortly after 7am (1pm Singapore time) caused the bus to burst into flames, with television images showing only the charred skeleton of the vehicle remaining.
The bus was carrying a tour group from eastern Germany's Saxony state, police said, and it was bound for Nuremberg, according to Bild newspaper.
Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced "great dismay" over the crash, with her spokesman saying: "Our thoughts and condolences go to the victims and their family members, as well as to the injured.
"We hope that those who have been rescued will recover from their injuries."
About 200 emergency workers were deployed to the site, including firefighters, rescue workers and police, while south-bound traffic on the motorway remained blocked.
Those hurt were being flown by rescue helicopters to hospitals, many with life-threatening injuries.