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Lawyer: probe of bus plunge that killed 39 in Italy points to failed transmission, brakes

A lawyer for the relatives of victims in a deadly tour bus plunge in southern Italy says an initial technical examination of the wreckage is pointing to a transmission loss and brake failure.

Andrea Pianese, a lawyer and technical expert hired by the family of three of the 39 fatalities, said Tuesday that a transmission was found a kilometer (half-mile) before where the bus plowed through cars then plunged off a highway viaduct into a ravine on July 28. He said it definitely belonged to the bus and that its loss apparently triggered brake failure.

The Italian news agency ANSA also quoted Pianese as saying in Avellino, where experts were examining the stored wreckage, that a backup braking system apparently worked on only one of the wheels.