The man changed the bus's course, which was taking school children home in Crema after outdoor activities, then announced that he wanted to kill himself to "stop deaths in the Mediterranean Sea" and proceeded to threaten passengers with a knife, the online media outlet reported. After the police arrived, the driver allegedly doused the vehicle with an inflammable liquid and screamed, "Nobody gets off here alive".
Officers broke the glass in the back door of the bus and got all the passengers to safety without serious injury before the flames destroyed the vehicle.
"It was a miracle they survived and we have to thank the Carabinieri for that", Milan prosecutor Francesco Greco said, adding that prosecutors also were weighing terrorism charges. "During the descent of the children from the vehicle, he set the bus on fire", said a tweet by the Carabinieri.
The wreckage of the bus Credit Reuters
"While two officers kept the driver busy - he took a lighter and threatened to set fire to the vehicle with a gasoline canister on board - the others forced open the back door", Commander Luca De Marchis told Sky24TV.
One of the children reportedly managed to call their parents, who in turn called emergency services and the police. While the evacuation was still underway, the driver started the blaze.
De Marchis credited the officers' "swiftness and courage" in getting all the children and their teachers out of the vehicle "with no tragic consequences".
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Some passengers were taken to the hospital for cuts and scratches.
Sy had worked for the bus company for 15 years without any issues related to his work performance, reported Sky TG24.
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The interior ministry said in a statement that the driver had been previously caught driving while drunk and had sexually assaulted a minor.
"Investigators must clarify how the transport company permitted such a delinquent.to drive a bus, especially one carrying children", said Riccardo De Corato, a Milan provincial official for security. Video of the incident's aftermath showed a charred metal frame.
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