Bus driver abducts schoolchildren, sets vehicle ablaze in Italy

Italian authorities say a bus driver transporting schoolchildren stopped his vehicle on a provincial highway told the passengers to get off and

The driver of a school bus has been arrested in Milan after allegedly setting the vehicle on fire with 51 children onboard. No one was seriously injured. The student, whose name was not given, said a classmate managed to hide his phone.

De Marchis told Sky TG24 that 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 40km from Milan. Milan prosecutor Francesco Greco told reporters, "It is a miracle, it could have been carnage".

Police investigate after an empty schoolbus crashed in the North Point district of Hong Kong on December 10, 2018.

Twelve children and two adults were hospitalized with smoke inhalation, as was Sy, the sources said. Luigi Di Maio and in particular Matteo Salvini, who is also interior minister, have taken a hard line against migrants since they formed a populist coalition government in June, including trying to close Italian ports to ships that rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.

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One of the children managed however to get a call through to their parents who in turned phoned the police. "I hurt my hands a bit picking it up. we were all terrified", the boy told Italian television.

Officers broke glass windows in the back of the bus and got all the passengers to safety without serious injury before the flames destroyed the vehicle, authorities said. A child managed to call the police, who rushed to the scene. 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. Tough anti-migrant laws Sy had been an Italian citizen since 2004, with reports saying was divorced from his Italian wife and has two teenage children. He reportedly had previous convictions for drink driving and sexual assault. It gave no dates for the alleged offences.

A video posted on Italian news sites showed the driver ramming the bus into cars on a provincial highway before the fire took hold. Earlier on Wednesday Salvini said his immigration policies has saved thousands of lives.

Human rights groups said deaths might have increased with hardly any boats now searching for the would-be refugees.

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