Car crash in Argentina kills 3 relatives of pope

Pope Francis' Relatives Die In Car Crash

By ALMUDENA CALLATRAVA

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - Three relatives of Pope Francis died and a fourth was in critical condition Tuesday after a car crash on a provincial highway in Argentina, the Vatican and a local police official said.

The small car carrying a nephew of the pope along with the man's wife and two young children slammed into the back of a truck, said Highway Police Superintendent Jorge Raineri. The crash killed the wife and children, one 2 years old and the other 8 months.

Photos showed the passenger side of the car smashed and crumpled beneath the cargo truck.

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Car crash in Argentina kills 3 relatives of pope
Pope Francis greets people as he arrives at the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) and Italian cardinal Agostino Vallini attend the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) and Italian cardinal Agostino Vallini attend the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets people as he arrives at the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) and Italian cardinal Agostino Vallini attend the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) and Italian cardinal Agostino Vallini attend the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) and Italian cardinal Agostino Vallini attend the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) and Italian cardinal Agostino Vallini attend the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (C) greets people as he arrives at the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets people as he arrives at the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets people as he arrives at the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis arrives to at the Conference of Rome's diocese on June 16, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - JUNE 15: Pope Francis is seen walking through Santa Maria in Trastevere Square on a screen as he arrives at the St. Egidio Community on June 15, 2014 in Rome, Italy. Pope Francis visited the Community of Sant'Egidio at a meeting dedicated essentially to the poor, who are 'at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus' and constitute a fundamental commitment of the Community as friendship as service. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - JUNE 15: Pope Francis walks through Santa Maria in Trastevere Square meeting the faithful as he arrives at the St. Egidio Community on June 15, 2014 in Rome, Italy. Pope Francis visited the Community of Sant'Egidio at a meeting dedicated to the poor. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis waves from his car as he leaves after the visit to St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome on August 18, 2014. The Pontiff is back to Rome at the end of a five-day trip to South-Korea. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Emanuel Bergoglio, the 38-year-old son of a brother of Pope Francis, was hospitalized. He suffered extensive injuries and his condition was not considered stable, said Ignacio Bruno, an assistant director of the hospital in the town of Villa Maria, to Todo Noticias television.

The man's 36-year-old wife, Valeria Carmona, and two children, Jose and Antonio, died before reaching the hospital, Bruno said.

The accident occurred between the cities of Rosario and Cordoba, apparently as the family was returning to Buenos Aires following a holiday weekend. The driver of the truck was not injured.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said "the pope was informed about the tragic accident. He is deeply pained." He added the pope asks "all who share in his grief to unite with him in prayer."

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