International desk, April 18: At least 29 people have died after a bus carrying German tourists plunged off a road and overturned on the Portuguese island of Madeira.Another 27 were injured in the accident near the town of Caniço.
The accident happened at 18:30 (17:30 GMT) when the driver lost control of the bus at a junction and went off the road, according Portuguese news agency Lusa, BBC reports.
The overturned vehicle came to rest near houses.
“I have no words to describe what happened. I cannot face the suffering of these people,” local Mayor Filipe Sousa told broadcaster SIC TV.
He said all the tourists on the bus were German but some local people could also be among the casualties. Eleven of the fatalities were men and 17 women, Mr Sousa added. The bus was reported to be carrying 55 passengers, as well as the driver and a tour guide.
Another woman later died of her injuries in hospital.
The scene of the crash has been sealed off and the injured transferred to a hospital in the island’s capital, Funchal, Lusa said. An investigation into the crash has been launched.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is flying to the island to visit the scene, the agency said.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa has sent a message of condolence to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Reuters reported.
Madeira was the scene of another fatal bus crash in 2005 when five Italian tourists died in São Vicente, on the northern coast.