Three relatives of Pope Francis were killed Tuesday in a traffic accident in Argentina’s Cordoba province, police told Efe, adding that a fourth Bergoglio family member was in critical condition at a hospital.
The victims are members of the family of the pontiff’s 35-year-old nephew, Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio, who is being treated for his injuries.
Bergoglio’s wife, Valeria Carmona, 36, and 8-month-old son, Jose, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, while the couple’s other son, Antonio, 2, died at the hospital.
The family’s automobile, a Chevrolet Spin, colided with a truck, police precinct chief Carina Ferreira told Efe.
The truck driver was not injured and the cause of the accident is under investigation, Ferreira said.
Pope Francis was informed of the accident and was deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of his relatives, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Tuesday.
The pontiff prayed for his dead relatives and for the recovery of his nephew, and he asked the public to pray for his family, Lombardi said.
The accident occurred in the early morning hours at kilometer 594 of the highway that links the cities of Rosario and Cordoba, located in central Argentina, near the town of Villa Maria.
Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio, the son of one of Pope Francis’s brothers, is listed in serious condition with multiple injuries at Villa Maria’s Pasteur Hospital.
The Bergoglio family was returning to its Buenos Aires residence after a vacation.