At least, 32 people were injured after a bus travelling from Faro to Lagos crashed last Wednesday night, June 17, on the A22 motorway (KM 48), near Paderne (Albufeira).
Three deaths are confirmed. Two women and a man died at the scene.
The «Frota Azul» bus was doing a “transfer” job, carrying 34 people aboard – the driver and 33 Dutch tourists, one being a 3 year-old toddler who lost the mother on the accident.
The bus was supposed to drop passengers at Armaçâo de Pera, Praia da Rocha and Lagos.
It somehow catapulted “violently” off the motorway, landing in a viaduct on its side, not far from the Paderne exit.
At the crash site, a reinforced operational task force of 156 fire fighters, safety and police/GNR agents conducted the rescue operations, supported by 101 emergency vehicles and two INEM helicopters, according to CDOS Faro operational online status
According to CDOS, the accident happened shortly after 11:00 pm.
Carlos Silva e Sousa, the mayor of Albufeira, arrived at the site around 1:00 am.
A field hospital was promptly set on site to provide first-aid medical care.
A a 63-year-old man with critical neurological injuries was airlifted to Lisbon’s São José Hospital.
He is understood to be undergoing facial surgery, a medical specialty lacking in the Algarve.
The other victims were transported to Faro and Portimão hospitals, as well as to Basic Emergency Services (SUB) in Albufeira and Loulé.
11 victims are hospitalized in Faro, 3 in very serious condition, and 8 severely injured, but stabilized.
Traffic on both lanes of the A22 was temporary closed down, between 00:31 am and 3:00 am.
The bus, however, was only removed from its prone position four hours later.
Shocked Mayor Carlos Silva e Sousa made arrangements for a van to move the luggage out to a safe storage.
The bus driver, although badly injured, was able to talk to the authorities last night.
Rescue operations ended at 2.30am.
The causes of the crash are being investigated.
According to witnesses, the bus driver became “indisposed” before the accident, although this is yet to be confirmed.
By Bruno Filipe Pires