29 dead in tourist bus crash in Portugal

A screen grab from footage showing the wreckage after a tourist bus veered off a steep, narrow road, then plunged and overturned next to a house in the coastal town of Canico on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Wednesday. The driver had reportedly
A screen grab from footage showing the wreckage after a tourist bus veered off a steep, narrow road, then plunged and overturned next to a house in the coastal town of Canico on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Wednesday. The driver had reportedly lost control of the bus. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LISBON • At least 29 people, most of them German tourists, were killed and 27 others injured on Wednesday when their bus veered off a steep, narrow road on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

The white tourist bus - which was carrying 55 passengers, a tour guide and the driver - overturned in a residential area in the coastal town of Canico around 6.30pm local time (1.30am yesterday, Singapore time), said its Mayor Filipe Sousa.

TV images showed the vehicle on its side on a bank next to a small road, surrounded by rescuers.

The driver had reportedly lost control of the bus on a sloping road, causing the vehicle to plunge and overturn next to a house, according to Portuguese news agency Lusa.

Germany's Bild daily reported that many of the tourists were retirees, and those killed included 18 women and 11 men.

The German Foreign Ministry has set up a hotline, and embassy staff were in close touch with local officials about the accident.

Those injured were taken to a hospital in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira.

Of the 28 injured who were initially taken to the hospital, one German tourist did not survive, bringing the death toll to 29, a hospital spokesman said.

Among the remaining injured, some underwent surgery or stayed for further observation. Two were discharged.

There were no children among the victims, the hospital said.

Madeira is a popular tourist destination. Although summer is the peak season, the island gets many visitors around Easter.

Madeira's regional government has declared three days of mourning.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2019, with the headline '29 dead in tourist bus crash in Portugal'. Print Edition | Subscribe