A bus went up in flames after it crashed into a truck Monday morning in southern Germany, injuring 31 people and leaving 17 others to be accounted for, police said.
Police said several people were severely injured in the crash near Muenchberg in the German state of Bavaria.
Two drivers and 46 people were on the bus, police spokeswoman Irene Brandenstein said.
German news channel N-TV showed footage of the bus, which was burned down to a black, smoking skeleton.
Helicopters and ambulances were on the scene to rescue the injured and the A9 highway was closed in both directions because of the accident.
“We are realistic and will have several dead to report at the end of the day,” police spokesman Juergen Stadter told rolling news channel NTV.
There was “only a glimmer of hope” that 17 people missing after the collision would be found alive outside the bus, which was completely gutted, he added.
“We cannot rule out that the 17 were no longer able to get out of the bus,” police spokeswoman Anne Hofer separately told the German paper Bild.