German survivors of Madeira bus crash to be flown home

The bus crash on Wednesday killed 29 German tourists

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas addresses the media outside the hospital in Funchal, the capital of Portugal’s Madeira Island, Thursday April 18, 2019 after visiting people injured in the bus crash. All the 29 people killed in a bus crash on Portugal’s Madeira Island were German, Portugal’s foreign ministry confirmed Thursday. The bus carrying 55 people, all but two of them German tourists, rolled down a steep hill after veering off the road on a bend east of Madeira’s capital, Funchal, on Wednesday evening when it was still light and in fine weather. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

A German plane is expected to arrive on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Friday to take home survivors from a bus crash that killed 29 German tourists.

Sixteen people remain hospitalized, including a Portuguese driver and a guide who were on the bus with 53 tourists on Wednesday afternoon when it veered off the road and plunged down a slope.

READ MORE: B.C. trucker pleads guilty to lesser charges in fatal Manitoba crash

Late Thursday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said a plane and medical crew were being readied to go to the island, which is 580 miles (935 kilometres) east of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean.

Investigators suspect that a stuck accelerator pedal could have been the cause of the crash that occurred only some 250 metres (820 feet) after the bus had left the hotel where the German guests were staying, Portugal’s TVI reported.

The broadcaster, citing anonymous sources from the prosecution-led investigation, said authorities would wait to complete the probe before releasing final conclusions.

Maas said that the bodies of the deceased would be transported to Germany once they are properly identified, a process that has to be done “with the utmost care to avoid any mistakes.”

“I hope we can do that as soon as possible,” Maas told reporters after visiting the injured in Madeira’s capital, Funchal. He also laid flowers at the site of the crash with his Portuguese counterpart, Augusto Santos Silva.

Portugese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was expected to visit the injured and the crash site on Friday.

A German Lutheran Church in Funchal is also holding an afternoon Mass to honour the victims and pray for the recovery of the injured, TVI reported.

___

AP reporter Aritz Parra contributed from Madrid.

Armando Franca, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Cowichan parks reopening

Park Ambassadors to help address any issues

Wave washes over local businesses with reopenings

Third Wave Coffee Company accepts mini cupcake donations for Crofton Elementary PAC

Considerations made to keep Crofton drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

May weather all over the map in the Chemainus Valley

Dramatic departure from monthly normals seen over the last few years

North Cowichan Mayor assesses drive-by celebration situation in Crofton

Siebring says bylaw officer’s response to a complaint routinely done all the time

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Most Read