On Sunday, a bus returning from a fireworks festival met in a horrific bus crash, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 14 university students. The crash occurred on a main highway in northeastern Spain, and a Catalonian official said that at least 34 other people were injured, as well.
Authorities reported that the bus had been carrying more than 55 passengers when it appears that the vehicle hit the barriers that were on the right-hand side of the highway. The impact was so hard that the bus then swerved to the other side of the road and reportedly, hit a car coming from the other direction, injuring two persons that were inside. The bus then flipped and slammed into a fence, landing on its side on Spain’s AP7 highway in Tarragona. Some reports claim that 13 students were killed and 34 injured, while others state that 14 were killed and 30 injured.
The students on the bus were a part of a foreign exchange program called Erasmus, which according to its website, helps students within the European Union to attend many of the best universities on the continent by providing foreign courses to the students of the 28-nation European Union. At the time of the crash, they were returning from the renowned “Fallas” fireworks festival in Valencia.
According to the Daily Mail UK, the students were mainly between the ages of 22 and 29 and were from a variety of countries, among them are Barcelona, Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and the Ukraine. The consulates for the various nationalities of the students who were in the fatal bus crash will all be contacted. The president of Catalan, Carles Puigdemont, confirmed reports that all 14 of those killed were women, though they have not all been identified nor their nationalities ascertained but he also announced that they would uphold two days of mourning for those lost.
The spokesman for Spain’s northeastern Catalonia province, Jordi Jane, advised that the wreckage from the crash had closed the major highway that links France and Spain along the Mediterranean coast in both directions and emergency rescue workers were working hard to clear. The crash on the AP7 highway occurred halfway between Valencia and Barcelona. Approximately 20 fire crews and seven ambulances were originally dispatched to the crash site in order to help free the people who had been trapped inside the bus.
While the exact cause of the crash is still being investigated, Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said that it seems that “human error” contributed greatly to the incident. The driver does, however, reportedly have over 17 years of experience in his field and tested negative for both drugs and alcohol and has never before been involved in any type of accident.
“It appears an undetermined human error and not a mechanical failure was to blame. The driver has tested negative for alcohol and drugs so those factors are ruled out.”
CBS News reported that the driver is currently being held at at a police station in the city of Tortosa.
Jane had mentioned earlier that of the injured parties, at least three persons were in serious conditions and with the death toll already at 14 we was hoping and praying that “the final death toll stays at this dramatic figure.” Most of the other injuries were considered to be non life threatening. The 30 or 34 injured persons were sent to various hospitals across the country to receive medical attention.
Including the driver, there were 57 persons travelling on the bus that crashed. It was only one of a five bus convoy that was hired to transport the students but had become separated from the others.
[Photo by AP Images]