Pope 'profoundly saddened' by Italy coach crash

(AP)
The wreckage of a bus that plunged off the A16 highway near Avellino

The Pope has sent a message of condolence to families of the 38 people killed in a horrific coach crash in Italy on Sunday night.

Pope Francis said he was "profoundly saddened" by the accident in which a packed coach plunged from a motorway flyover on the A16 between Naples and Canosa.

The coach was reportedly carrying pilgrims on their return from a pilgrimage to a church dedicated to Saint Pio of Peitrelcina.

In a telegram sent on his behalf by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope conveyed his "deepest condolences" and said he was praying for the deceased.

A funeral Mass was held for the victims at the Monterusciello Palasport, an indoor sports arena in Pozzuoli, around 40 miles from Naples.

Hundreds of people attended, including Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

It is not clear what caused the coach to veer off the motorway. A post-mortem is due to be carried out on the driver. Officials are looking into the possibility that a tyre had blown.

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