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BREAKING PHOTO: Rescuers line up bodies of victims of bus crash in Italy, 30 feared dead including children...

 Rescuers line up the bodies of victims of a bus crash on July 28, 2013 on the road between Monteforte Irpino and Baiano, southern Italy (AFP Photo / Stringer / Agenzia Controluce)

Rescuers line up the bodies of victims of a bus crash on July 28, 2013 on the road between Monteforte Irpino and Baiano, southern Italy (AFP Photo / Stringer / Agenzia Controluce)

At least 24 people have been reported dead after a bus skidded off a viaduct in southern Italy. Children are among the victims of the deadly crash.

The bus was traveling the A16 highway from the town of Canosa to Naples when the incident happened on Sunday evening. The vehicle hit several cars before running through the guardrail and falling more than 25 meters down a slope, Italian media reported.

 Some 40 people were on board the bus at the time of the crash. Preliminary reports said seven of them - including the driver - died in the incident, but the death toll rose as the rescue operation continued, ANSA news agency reported. As many as 30 people were thought to have been killed at one point.

Eleven people were rescued from the crashed bus and taken to hospital. All of them are in serious condition, the agency reported. 

First responders had difficulties pulling victims from the wrecked bus. The viaduct was damaged by the vehicle, thereby loosening pieces of concrete which threatened to fall on emergency teams. 

The site of the crash near the town of Avellino is difficult to reach, making the rescue operation even more challenging.

Police cordoned off the part of the highway where the crash happened. 

The passengers were travelling back to Naples from a pilgrimage dedicated to St. Pio of Pietrelcina - popularly known as Padre Pio. Read more via RT... 

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