Religious Pilgrims Perish in Bus Crash

26 Poles die, 24 injured after apparent brake failure in French Alps
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2007 12:38 PM CDT
A rescuer inspects the wreckage of a bus that was transporting Polish pilgrims from a holy site in the French Alps, after it plunged off a steep mountain road, crashed into a river bank and burst into...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Twenty-six people died and 24 were injured today when a bus carrying religious pilgrims plunged off a bridge in the French Alps. Forty-nine Polish nationals and two drivers were on a tour of European Roman Catholic shrines when their coach slammed through a wall onto a riverbank and burst into flames, the Times of London reports.

The bus plummeted some 130 feet after a notoriously steep descent. “People were thrown out of the coach when it fell and we are looking for them in the river,” said a fireman. Authorities said they believe brake failure was the primary cause but were investigating the possibility that the driver was speeding and failed to negotiate a curve.