At least 29 German tourists died yesterday when their bus tumbled down a slope and crashed into a house on the tourist island of Madeira.
Concise News understands that the cause of the accident is yet to be confirmed as there was drone footage which showed the mangled wreckage lying against a building on a hillside near the town of Canico.
It was gathered that the vehicle’s roof partially crushed and front window smashed.
However, the rescue workers attended to injured passengers on the grass where the bus rested nearby, some of them bearing bloodied head bandages and blood-stained clothes.
The Portuguese government decreed three days of national mourning. “It is with sadness and dismay that I think of our compatriots and all the other people affected by the terrible bus accident in Madeira,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement.
“My sincere condolences go above all to those families that have lost loved ones in this tragedy,” she added, thanking the Portuguese emergency services for their efforts. Known as the Pearl of the Atlantic and the Floating Garden, Madeira is home to just 270,000 inhabitants. Witnesses and officials said the 50-odd tourists had left their hotel on their way to the regional capital Funchal for dinner when the bus crashed on Wednesday. Local media said two Portuguese nationals survived the crash: the driver and a tour guide.
Prosecutors have opened a probe. The vice-president of the regional government Pedro Calado said it was “premature” to attribute the cause of the accident. He said the bus was five years old and had been recently inspected.
A woman who survived the accident said on the TVI television channel that the bus crashed after hitting a wall. “It happened just after the bus started, one minute or a few seconds later. People were flying through the windows,” said the woman, who was not named. Local authorities said most of the dead were aged in their 40s and 50s. Twelve men and 17 women were among the victims, an official at the Nelio Mendonca hospital, Tomasia Alves, told reporters.