Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

Dozens of tourists die in bus crash on Portuguese island of Madeira

Coach carrying 55 tourists left the road and overturned, killing 29 visitors from Germany

Emergency services inspect the scene of a tourist bus crash in Canico, Madeira Island, Portugal. EPA
Emergency services inspect the scene of a tourist bus crash in Canico, Madeira Island, Portugal. EPA

Twenty-nine German tourists have been killed after their coach overturned in a coastal town on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Wednesday.

The bus spun off the road in Canico, apparently having flipped several times, before crashing into a house at the bottom of a slope.

"Horrible news comes to us from Madeira," a German government spokesman tweeted after the crash.

"Our deep sorrow goes to all those who lost their lives in the bus accident. Our thoughts are with the injured."

Filipe Sousa, Mayor of Santa Cruz where the accident happened, said 17 women and 11 men were killed in the crash, with 21 injured.

A doctor said another woman died of her injuries in hospital.

"I express the sorrow and solidarity of all the Portuguese people in this tragic moment, and especially for the families of the victims who I have been told were all German," President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said.

Mr de Sousa said he would travel to Madeira overnight.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Twitter that he had contacted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to convey his condolences.

"It is with profound sadness that I heard of the accident on Madeira," Mr Costa wrote on the government's Twitter page.

"I took the occasion to convey my sadness to Chancellor Angela Merkel at this difficult time."

The regional protection service in Madeira confirmed 28 deaths in the accident.

Regional government Vice President Pedro Calado said it was premature to speculate on the cause of the crash.

Mr Calado said the vehicle was five years old and that "everything had apparently been going well".

Judicial authorities have opened an investigation into the accident. Medical teams were being sent from Lisbon to help local staff.

The incident happened near a botanical garden in the south-east of Madeira at 6.30pm local time.

At least 19 ambulances were at the scene.

It is understood the coach left the road and went down a hill before rolling.

The coach was heading to Funchal and was carrying the 55 tourists and a guide.

Updated: April 18, 2019 04:35 AM

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