On the Portuguese Atlantic island, 29 people have died. According to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, all the victims are from Germany.

Madeira Island Bus Crash

A bus accident on the Portuguese Atlantic island of Madeira killed 29 people Wednesday. Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa told media reports Thursday night that according to his information, all the dead are from Germany.

The coach had strayed off the carriageway in the municipality of Caniço and had fallen down an embankment onto a residential building. You could see in the picture how the destroyed coach lies on the side and partially on a red tiled roof.

Rebelo de Sousa expressed his condolences to the bereaved and said, looking at the dead: “I was told that they are all German.” He wants to speak on Thursday with the German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa condoned Chancellor Angela Merkel. He was dismayed and sent his regrets to the Chancellor “at this difficult hour,” tweeted Costa.

The regional government ordered a three-day mourning period for the island. This applies from Thursday to Saturday, it said in a statement of the Government Council of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. According to that, the flags are placed on all public buildings on Madeira at half- mast during the three days.

The driver apparently lost control of the bus early in the evening on a bend and then crashed down a hillside into a residential area. The newspaper “Observador” reported a total of 57 people on board. 27 of them were injured in the accident. Two were already able to leave the hospital. Among the injured were according to the information two Portuguese: the driver and a tourist guide.

According to local civil protection, the accident took place around 6:30 pm in the municipality of Caniço, east of the provincial capital Funchal. Two dozen ambulances were in action, and the police cordoned off the scene of the accident.

The cause of the accident was initially unclear. The prosecutor initiated an investigation. According to media reports, a mechanical problem could have been the reason – either a brake failure or a trapped gas pedal.