LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A tour bus carrying German tourists crashed on Portugal’s Madeira Island on Wednesday, killing 28 people and injuring 28 others, local authorities said.
The bus carrying 55 people rolled down a steep hillside after veering off the road on a bend east of the capital, Funchal, and struck at least one house, local mayor Filipe Sousa told cable news channel SIC. The victims included 17 women and 11 men.
Pedro Calado, vice president of Madeira’s regional government, told a news conference that the injured, including the Portuguese driver and a local tour guide, were taken to a local hospital. He did not say whether anyone not on the bus was among the victims.
He declined to provide a breakdown of the victims’ nationalities, but Sousa said the bus was carrying a group of German tourists.
Local television showed bodies scattered over the rural hillside next to the Atlantic Ocean. Madeira, off northwest Africa, is a popular vacation destination for Europeans due to its mild climate and lush, hilly landscape.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in a tweet that he had sent condolences to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “I learned of this tragic accident in Madeira with deep sorrow,” he said.
Merkel’s spokesman said “terrible news is reaching us from Madeira.” Steffen Seibert said on Twitter that “we are in deepest sorrow over all those who lost their lives in the bus crash.” He added: “Our thoughts are with the injured.”
Germany’s foreign ministry said its embassy in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, was in contact with local authorities in Madeira. Seibert said the government has set up a telephone hotline for people worried about family members.
Residents said the weather was fine at the time of the accident, which happened in daylight in the early evening.
Authorities said they are investigating the cause of the crash.