At least 21 people including two children have died after a bus crashed off a flyover near the Italian city of Venice and caught fire, officials say.

The bus broke through a barrier and plunged near railway tracks in the district of Mestre, which is connected to Venice by a bridge.

Among the dead are five Ukrainians, one German and the Italian driver, city prefect Michele Di Bari said.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said a “huge tragedy” had taken place.

“An apocalyptic scene, there are no words,” he said on social media.

The bus is thought to have been rented to take tourists between Venice and a campsite in the nearby Marghera district.

The incident happened at about 19:45 (17:45 GMT) as the bus was reportedly taking tourists back to the campsite.

Some reports say the bus was powered by methane gas and fell on to power lines and caught fire.

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi warned the death toll could rise.

The cause of the crash is not yet known and rescue workers are continuing to work at the scene.

At least 18 people are known to have been injured, five of them seriously.

A reception point staffed by psychologists and psychiatrists has been set up at a nearby hospital to provide support for the victims’ families.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she was following developments and expressed condolences.

“Our thoughts go out to the victims and their family and friends,” she said.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she stood by Italian leaders in this “moment of profound pain”.

In 2013, 38 people were killed after a coach lost control on a viaduct near the south Italian town of Monteforte Irpino, hitting several other cars before falling into a ravine.

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