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

Alberta confirms 29 new COVID-19 cases

Of the total 6,955 confirmed cases, 652 are active

VIDEO: Tim Hus performs at Ponoka long-term care facilities

Direct Energy pop-up concerts hope to raise spirits

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

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

Champion horse gets Hall of Fame nod

Willy from the Donalda Cassidy stable to be part of 2020 Canadian Pro Rodeo HOF inductees

More hospitals part of plasma transfusion trial to treat COVID-19 with antibodies

More hospitals part of plasma transfusion trial to treat COVID-19 with antibodies

Brazilians say ‘I do’ at drive-thru weddings to avoid virus

Brazilians say ‘I do’ at drive-thru weddings to avoid virus

Cases going down, but experts urge against visiting grandparents during pandemic

Cases going down, but experts urge against visiting grandparents during pandemic

One dead, four hurt in head-on crash on one-way street in Edmonton

One dead, four hurt in head-on crash on one-way street in Edmonton

NDP mocks Alberta premier’s UCP for taking COVID cash from ‘sugar daddy’ Trudeau

NDP mocks Alberta premier’s UCP for taking COVID cash from ‘sugar daddy’ Trudeau

Alberta introduces bill to change rules on charter schools, home-schooling

Alberta introduces bill to change rules on charter schools, home-schooling

Opposition parties call on Liberals to restore human-trafficking victims fund

Opposition parties call on Liberals to restore human-trafficking victims fund

‘Antigone’ wins five trophies, including best picture, at Canadian Screen Awards

‘Antigone’ wins five trophies, including best picture, at Canadian Screen Awards

Most Read