Thirteen tourists were injured early this morning – eight of them ending up in hospital – after tree branches ripped through an open-topped double-decker bus as it passed along Lisbon’s Avenida de Liberdade.
The most dramatic scenario, say reports, involved two Belgian women who had to be cut from the wreckage of the overhead canopy that had collapsed on top of them.
Nationalities of the other injured were British (2), American (2) and Swiss (2).
The accident happened shortly after 9.45am, and by lunchtime all but one of those treated in hospital had been discharged.
With the damaged bus removed from the scene, questions now centre on how the accident happened.
According to Sapo24 news website, the council “guarantees” that all the trees along the Avenida are in “good phytosanitary condition”.
Even so, the plane tree involved has had to be cut down, due to the fact that the impact caused it to lean precariously towards the road.
Bus company Carris has “opened an inquiry” and the council has agreed that it will be assessing the situation of other trees along the avenue.
José Sá Fernandes, councillor in charge of the environment, ‘green structure’, climate and energy, suggests the bus may have “lurched” towards the kerb “perhaps, going too fast”.
Carris has stressed that it will “assume all responsibilities” once these have been clarified.