Crash victims said to be between 22 and 29 were taking part in university exchange programme
Catalonian authorities are in the process of identifying the victims of a bush crash which occurred midway between Valencia and Barcelona. At least 13 people were killed, all of them reportedly women.
In all 61 people were on board. Catalonia's emergency services state passengers included students from more than a dozen nations including Hungary, Germany, Poland and the UK. Two Ukrainain students have sustained non-life threatening injures. The regional interior minister says assistance to families flying in will be provided.
"We are also going to help the families of foreigners landing at Barcelona´s airport. If they want to come. We have already given information to the consulates so these people can be attended to. Catalonia´s government is going to offer the resources so they can go there. It is really tough for families that might think that one of their daughters or a relative are amongst the victims", Catalonia's regional Interior Minister Jordi Jane says.
The bus crashed and overturned on a road that runs along Spain's eastern coast. After swerving onto the other side of the carriageway, it hit an oncoming car, injuring the two passengers inside. It was driving away from Valencia on the last weekend of the Fallas festival, known for its firework displays. The driver was taken to a local police station.
According to a statement from a Catalan court he has tested negative for alcohol and drugs. The cause of the accident is provisionally being put down to "human error" say local authorities but investigations are on-going.
"I also want to send a message to those families that have a relative involved in the accident. Also a message to those injured that are being attended by our health services. We are gathering every piece of information to see if it (the accident) happened due to mechanical problems or other kinds of problem. We can't say yet", Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia regional leader, says.
The majority of the crash victims are said to be between 22 and 29. Many of them were university students taking part in an exchange programme between international and Spanish universities.