A BUS carrying Hungarian school students home from a ski trip to France has slammed into a highway barrier in northern Italy and caught fire, killing at least 16 people.
Police said 39 people survived, though some were injured seriously.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and it wasn't clear why the bus crashed into the overpass support column on the highway near Verona just before midnight, said police commander Girolamo Lacquaniti.
The impact of the crash was so strong that some passengers were thrown out the bus, RAI state radio said.
Sixteen badly burned bodies were pulled from the wreckage. Of the 39 survivors, 26 were injured, some seriously, Commander Lacquaniti said.
In Budapest, the foreign ministry said official information was that there were 54 passengers, including adults accompanying the students, and two drivers aboard, but it believes the actual number was higher - for reasons yet to be determined.