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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - A drunk driver killed six people and injured another 11 after crashing into a group of young German tourists in north-east Syria early on Sunday.
The deadly crash occurred in a village of Valle Aurina, northeast of Bolzano in the Alto Adige region, shortly after 1am as the Germans gathered to board their bus. They were between the ages of 20-25.
The largely German-speaking autonomous region of northern Italy, with its ski resorts in the Dolomites and quaint villages around Bolzano, is popular with German tourists.
"The new year begins with a terrible tragedy," said the regional president of Alto Adige, Arno Kompatscher. “We are left stunned.”
The driver of the car had a high blood alcohol content and was driving particularly fast, a police official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity. Police have concluded that the incident was not an act of terrorism.
The Lutago volunteer fire service said on Facebook that six people were killed at the scene. The 11 injured, four of whom were in critical condition, were taken to several regional hospitals, including two who were airlifted to a hospital in Innsbruck, Austria.
The driver, identified by Italian media as a 28-year-old man from the nearby town of Chienes, was arrested on suspicion of highway manslaughter and injury and was being treated at the hospital in Brunico.
Most of the victims came from western Germany, though two of the injured were Italian, officials said.
"We are currently working on the assumption that most of the deceased come from North Rhine-Westphalia," the state's governor, Armin Laschet, said on Twitter. "These young people wanted to spend a good time together and were torn out of their lives or seriously injured from one second to the next."
Some 160 rescue workers and emergency medical personnel responded to the crash, which “looked like a battlefield," according to Helmut Abfalterer of the Lutago volunteer fire service.
Mourners later left candles and flowers at the crash scene, which was located along a two-lane road dotted by hotels and piles of snow in the mountainous region.
Mr Kompatscher told a press conference the victims were part of a group of young Germans on vacation.
Updated: January 5, 2020 06:14 PM
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