Six German tourists killed by car in Italian ski resort

5 January 2020, 08:46 | Updated: 5 January 2020, 12:49

Six died and 11 were injured in the crash in northern Italy
Six died and 11 were injured in the crash in northern Italy. Picture: PA

Six people have been killed and 11 injured after a car ploughed into a group of young German tourists at an Italian ski resort.

The horror crash took place in Lutago, also known as Luttach, near Bolzano, shortly after 1am as the group were gathering to board their bus.

The victims, thought to be in their early 20s, had been leaving a club to return to their bed and breakfast when they were struck while crossing the road.

Sky TG24 quoted Italian police as saying the driver was believed to be a 28-year-old from the area and had a high alcohol blood content.

The crash happened in Lutago, also known as Luttach
The crash happened in Lutago, also known as Luttach. Picture: PA

Bolzano Carabinieri Commander Alessandro Coassin said the suspect was arrested on suspicion of highway manslaughter and injury, and was being treated at the hospital in Brunico.

He also said police had concluded the crash was not an act of terrorism.

The volunteer fire service said on Facebook that the six dead were killed at the scene and the injured were taken to several nearby hospitals.

Local media said three of those injured are in a serious condition, including a woman who was urgently transferred to a hospital in Innsbruck, Austria.

Two of those injured are thought to be Italian nationals who were not part of the tourist group, according to Corriere Della Sera.

The shuttle bus driver, who had dropped off the group of victims moments before they were injured, told the paper: "I had just unloaded the boys and after a few moments, in front of me a few tens of meters I noticed the car at neutral speed coming towards us.

"I flashed to tell the driver to slow down, trying to warn him of the danger, but it was useless.

"A few seconds later from the rear-view mirror I saw those poor young men flying through the air."

Volunteer firefighter Helmut Abfalterer said the scene was "like a battlefield."

A member of staff at the nearby Adler Tiroler Hotel, who did not want to be named, also told the paper: "A terrible scene - people on the ground, screaming, pain... a tragedy. There are no words.

"We asked several times for a speed camera to be installed on this stretch of road.

"In fact, motorists as soon as they leave the town of Lutago accelerate and here, one kilometer outside the centre, they are already running at 100 per hour."

The resort, in a largely German-speaking part of the Dolomites, is a popular snowsports spot.

South Tyrol governor Arno Kompatscher told a press conference: "The new year begins with a tragedy, we are close to the victims and their relatives."