A bus full of tourists toppled over a windy mountain road in the island of Madeira, Portugal, leaving at least 28 people dead.
The coach bus carrying about 55 passengers and one guide reportedly went off the road in the popular vacation island of Madeira as it headed to the capital. According to The Daily Mail and local media reports, the bus was making its way to Funchal when it careered off a road just near the town of Canico.
The mayor of the nearby town of Santa Cruz, Filipe Sousa, stated that 11 men and 17 women made up the group of fatal victims of the accident, with the majority being German nationals. According to Portuguese media, another 28 people were rushed to hospital after being injured in the crash, with the driver and the guide left wounded.
Local media claimed that the bus driver ended up losing control of the vehicle when turning a bend and careered off the road, eventually crashing onto the top of a house that sat just below the mountainous route. The cause of the loss of control is still unknown.
The coach overturned just after falling off the winding road near the Quinta Splendida Wellness & Botanical Garden hotel. The accommodation’s receptionist said the vehicle crashed nearby but confirmed that none of the victims were guests at the hotel.
At least 14 ambulances rushed to the crash scene after emergency services were contacted at around 6.30 p.m. local time. Shocked locals who attended the accident site have since gathered around a giant cordon that was set up, according to The Daily Mail.
“I have no words to describe what happened. I cannot face the suffering of these people,” said Mayor Sousa.
Videos have since emerged showing the distressing moments of the crash’s aftermath, as the wounded were helped away from the site by emergency responders. Clips and photos showed several survivors sitting by the side of the road where the tragedy took place. Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has reportedly made to his way to the island of Madeira on a Portuguese Air Force plane.
“The president of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque, and the Regional Government, are saddened by the accident with a bus in Caniço, which has killed several foreign nationals, and is now ready to address the condolences to all the relatives of the victims,” said the president of the Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, in a statement released soon after the crash.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) added, “We are seeking information from the authorities in Portugal about a bus crash in Madeira, and are ready to support any British people who require assistance.”