Bus driver gets suspended jail term over A22 crash that killed four Dutch tourists

Almost two years since the horrific bus crash on the A22 that killed four Dutch holidaymakers, and injured another 28, Portimão court has found the driver guilty of negligent homicide, and handed him a three year 10 month jail term, suspended.

The tally comprises one year and three months for each death.

As yet there has been no response from any of the relatives of the dead – which included the mother of a three-year-old child.

According to reports, the unnamed bus driver has also been prohibited from driving for three years.

Lusa news agency quotes from a statement put out on the website of the Public Ministry, saying “the court found that the defendant allowed the vehicle to get out of control by driving too close to the verge, not paying attention and being careless – namely when he tried to reach and adjust the air conditioner”.

This is ‘news’ in itself, as at the time of the tragedy television reports suggested that the driver – described as having a long and impeccable record – passed out, or otherwise became indisposed (click here).

Since then, there has been nothing in the press to suggest that he was in fact distracted.

Lusa recaps on the incident, saying that it happened as 33 newly-arrived tourists were being taken to their hotels in Armação de Pêra, Praia da Rocha and Lagos.

The State news service does not identify the bus company involved (Frota Azul), nor the holiday company with which the tourists were travelling (Tui). It simply states that the inquiry into the crash was led by Albufeira’s section of Faro DIAP (department of investigation and penal action), and that “apart from the four deaths, the accident provoked 28 injuries”.

A number of the injuries were in fact very serious.

In the aftermath, both Tui and the Dutch ambassador to Portugal praised the “rapid response” of Algarve emergency teams, which made it to the site of crash within minutes, and scrambled helicopter back-up to airlift the worst injured to Lisbon for specialist treatment.

Tragically, the crash on June 17 was followed two days later by another bus crash in which another three people died, one of them a long-term German resident (click here).

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