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German bus inferno kills 18 people in motorway crash

By AP Reporter

Eighteen people have been confirmed dead after a bus carrying German senior citizens crashed on a highway in Germany before bursting into flames.

Another 30 people were injured when the bus carrying the group crashed into a truck on the A9 highway in Bavaria yesterday morning.

Two of the injured are still in a life-threatening condition in hospital.

Police tweeted that the members of the group were between 41 and 81 years old and mostly from Saxony in eastern Germany.

Two drivers and 46 passengers were on the bus, a police spokeswoman said.

The accident took place at around 7am local time (6am BST) when the bus collided with a truck at the end of a traffic jam on the A9 highway near Muenchberg in Bavaria.

German chancellor Angela Merkel thanked the emergency crews involved.

"Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and we wish all those who were injured a speedy recovery," she said.

Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said at the crash site that it was not immediately clear what caused the initial traffic jam, but that the bus seemed to have caught fire almost immediately.

The remains of 11 bodies were recovered from the bus, and forensic experts were still poring through the charred wreckage to identify and remove other remains, he said.

Simple wooden coffins were wheeled in for the remains recovered from the wreckage.

Mr Dobrindt said that when firefighters first arrived, the bus fire was so hot they could not get anywhere close to the burning vehicle to rescue those inside.

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