Driver Abducts Full School Bus, Sets It Ablaze

Alleged perpetrator said he was protesting migrant deaths in Italy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2019 5:20 PM CDT
Firefighters and police officers stand by the gutted remains of a bus in San Donato Milanese, near Milan, Italy, March 21, 2019.   (Daniele Bennati/ANSA via AP)
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(Newser) – A bus driver in northern Italy abducted 51 children and their chaperones Wednesday, ordering the children's hands to be bound and threatening them with death during the drive, before setting the vehicle on fire when he was stopped by a Carabinieri blockade, the AP reports. 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, authorities said. As he was apprehended, the driver said he was protesting migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, Commander Luca De Marchis said. De Marchis said the driver, an Italian citizen of Senegalese origin in his 40s, threatened the passengers, telling them that "no one would survive today" as he commandeered the bus carrying two middle-school classes in Cremona province, some 25 miles from Milan.

One of the students said the driver took all their phones and ordered the chaperones to bind the students' hands with cable ties, threatening to spill gas and set the bus ablaze. The bus was intercepted on the outskirts of Milan by three Carabinieri vehicles, which were able to force it into the guardrail, De Marchis said. "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," De Marchis said. While the evacuation was underway, the driver started the blaze. The driver was apprehended and was being treated for burns. ANSA identified him as Ousseynou Sy, and said he was being investigated on suspicion of kidnapping, intention to commit mass murder, arson, and resisting law enforcement.

(Read more hijacking stories.)

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