Seven dead, dozens hurt in Italy coach accident

ROME (AFP) - Seven people died and dozens were injured in southern Italy on Sunday when a coach came off a flyover and plunged 30 metres (98 feet) down a slope, according to police officials cited by Italian media.

"I cannot yet confirm the number of victims, we are still pulling people from the vehicle. Our priority now is to free the wounded," a police spokesman told AFP, adding that the Naples-Bari highway had been closed down to traffic.

Rescue workers at the scene near Avellino, a town in the Campania region, said the coach had hit several cars before plunging off the flyover, and some passengers may have been flung from the vehicle as it fell, media reports said.

The driver was among the dead and several of the injured were children, La Repubblica newspaper and Corriere della Sera daily said.

The 40 or so passengers had been returning to Naples following a pilgrimage and eye witnesses said it looked like the coach may have had brake problems.