Spain bus crash
A number of European students were killed when the bus crashed on its way back from the Fallas Festival in Valencia. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Seven Italians and two Germans were among 13 people killed in a bus crash in Spain on Sunday 20 March. A Frenchwoman, a Romanian, an Austrian and a student from Uzbekistan were also among the deceased.

The bus crashed near Tarragona in Catalonia as a group of 56 Erasmus exchange students made their way from Valencia after the Fallas Festival. Local officials reported that all those killed in the crash were women aged between 19 and 25 years old.

The Catalan Government confirmed on Twitter that the families of the victims were travelling to Barcelona and Trotosa, and that their first goal was to "take care of them". A further 24 victims are in hospital with injuries, spread out between hospitals in Tortosa, Amposta, Vinaros, Reus, Tarrangona and Barcelona.

Catalonia's regional interior minister, Jordi Jane, said that the driver of the coach hit the railing on the right and then swerved to the left "so violently that the bus veered onto the other side of the highway". It hit a vehicle coming in the opposite direction, injuring two people inside.

Three of those injured are believed to be in a critical condition, while nine are in a serious condition and 22 in a less serious condition, Catalan government website confirmed. Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade noted that two Irish students were among the injured.

Most of the students are believed to have been studying at two universities in Barcelona. The Catalan government said that an investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the crash.

The driver of the coach is being held at a police station in Tortosa. Spanish interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said that he had passed all alcohol and drug tests.

Catalonia's newly elected president, Carles Puigdemont, declared two days of mourning following the accident. A UK Foreign Office spokesperson confirmed that they were in contact with the relevant Spanish authorities.