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Monday, January 25, 1999 Published at 01:52 GMT

World: Europe

Bus crash kills 18 in Austria

Most of the dead were teenagers

Eighteen people have been killed and another 32 injured in a bus crash in southern Austria.

The bus, which was carrying a party of Hungarian teenagers on a skiing holiday, plunged off a hillside on a steep section of road near Deutschlandsberg.

Red Cross spokesman Armin Teichert said 17 of the 32 casualties were seriously injured.

Police said the bus skidded, went over an embankment and rolled over several times on the road.

Ambulances and rescue teams from around the region were called to help.

Austrian police said cutting equipment was used to free several casualties from the wreckage.

The injured were taken to hospitals in nearby Deutschlandsberg and Graz.

The cause of the accident is unknown - neither snow nor icy roads was reported to be a problem at the time.

Reports say the driver was experienced and familiar with the winding route.

The party, from an agricultural high school in Koszeg, western Hungary, were on their way from the slopes to their lodging - a rented castle in Limberg.

The Austria Press Agency said the school party were in Austria for a one-week ski holiday.

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