On a clear, sunny day today in southern Germany, as many as eighteen people are missing and presumed dead after a fire consumed a tour bus on a busy highway.
According to the authorities, the bus collided with a tractor-trailer truck in the northern region of Bavaria.
It's not yet clear what caused the collision between the tourist bus and the commercial truck, but firemen on the scene say it's unlikely that any of the 18 people missing survived the blaze. Thirty people escaped the fire, some critically injured. Rescue helicopters joined emergency workers at the scene.
A fire service spokesman said it was unlikely that any of the 18 missing could have survived. "Unfortunately numerous people—a tour group from (the eastern German state of) Saxony—lost their lives in this burning bus," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference.
The highway is closed today as authorities investigate the scene. On the bus, there were 46 passengers and two drivers, which was already engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
It is not yet clear what caused the collision. A police spokesman told German news channel n-tv that there were good medical facilities in Bayreuth, not far from the crash site.